Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

Currency Slide Israel Spent Billions Chasing Is Here at Last …

The bears are coming out for Israels shekel, ending a rally the central bank spent billions of dollars trying to curb.

The currency weakened in July for the first time this year, interrupting its longest monthly rising streak in more than a decade, with option contracts signaling the decline isnt over. Deutsche Bank AGs Gautam Kalani on July 3 recommended shorting the shekel, the day it peaked to a record against a basket of currencies.

The exchange rate has gone far beyond its fair value, the London-basedemerging market strategist said in an interview on Monday. Over this year, the performance of the shekel has been so strong that its led to more and more momentum creators as speculators piled up on the trade.

The Bank of Israel, concerned about the export sector, has repeatedly said the shekel is overvalued. It has spent about $6 billion so far this year trying to stem its gain and its reserves have grown by some $10 billion in all, the most since 2009 on a year-to-date basis. But traders continued to pile into the currency, encouraged bya current-account surplus and inflows into high-tech and natural gas industries.

Sentiment changed after data showed consumer prices in June fell unexpectedly, days after Israels central bank said it wont follow developed peers and raise its key interest rate from a record low of 0.1 percent if inflation remains subdued.

Read More: Israel Consumer Prices Unexpectedly Fall on Clothing, Transport

Expectations have shifted,said Jonathan Katz, aTel Aviv-based chief strategist at Leader Capital Markets. The June inflation numbers were very significant because people started saying, the central bank clearly cant move on rates for a very long time now. If many investors were expecting a hike sometime in 2018, thats now moved to 2019 at the earliest.

Bearishness has risen, judging by the 25-delta risk reversal, which is based on three-month options. It shows traders preference for shekel puts over calls jumped in July by the most in almost four years on a net basis.

The shekels one-month implied volatility climbed 70 basis points in July to 6.6 percent. The contracts are the only ones among the worlds currencies to rise so far this year on a net basis.

The shekel depreciated 2.1 percent in July and slipped another 0.5 percent Friday to 3.6161 per dollar as of 1:31 p.m. in Tel Aviv, its weakest level since April. It has fallen for six straight days, the longest run since October 2015.

Based on Deutsches valuations, which include factors such as inflation, productivity and trade, Kalani sees the currency weakening to 3.65 per dollar, without specifying a timeframe. He also predicts the central bank will step up its dollar purchases to extend the currencys decline, but hes still bullish on the currencys long-term prospects.

You had a trend with very little volatility, so it was quite attractive for speculators to jump in, Kalani said. Now we are at a point where the strengthening trend seems to have stopped, which will force speculators to unwind their positions, which could move the dollar-shekel higher.

With assistance by Yaacov Benmeleh

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Currency Slide Israel Spent Billions Chasing Is Here at Last …

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Israel begins concept work on Arrow-4 defender – DefenseNews.com

TEL AVIV, Israel Israels Defense Ministry and industry developers have begun early work on what could evolve into the Arrow-4, a new missile-intercepting system to defend against much more sophisticated, future threats from Iran.

In interviews here, defense and industry sources assess the specter of massive salvo strikes, sub-munition warheads and multiple reentry vehicles, or MRV, as the next major technological challenges that Israels integrated, multitiered national defense network may have to contend with a decade down the road.

To this end, Israels MAFAT Defense Research and Development Authority is working with state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries and other firms to evaluate technologies needed to improve the ability to track, target and ultimately destroy such threats.

Were very happy that the missile defense architecture of Israel is working, but, as you know, we cant stand in place. We have to remain at least one step ahead of the threat, said Moshe Patel, director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, part of the MoDs MAFAT Defense Research and Development Authority. Were today evaluating technology in the industry and in MAFAT to determine the way forward.

According to Patel, ongoing work is in the very early stages, and is focused not only on a new interceptor but on the infrastructure that may be needed to support it. He noted that Israel recently started to share its preliminary work and concept definition studies with American partners at the Pentagons Missile Defense Agency.

Just like Iron Dome started with infrastructure [studies] and [research and development] within MAFAT, we are starting to interest the Americans and share with them what we believe could be the way forward, Patel told Defense News.

Boaz Levy, IAI executive vice president and head of the group that developed the operational Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 interceptors, said it was probably too early to call the effort Arrow-4. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that ongoing design studies are aimed at a future interceptor that will extend capabilities beyond Arrow-2, which intercepts Scud-type ballistic missiles high within Earths atmosphere, and Arrow-3, which is designed to destroy targets in space.

Its not yet Arrow-4. Were just now in the initial design phase as we work to define the next generation of threats, Levy said.

Development of these systems take many years. So the next step, from our perspective, is to get into the future threat and to develop capabilities to stay ahead of it, he added.

Tal Inbar, head of the Space and UAV Research Center at Israels Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, closely monitors speeches, literature and images coming out of Iran. He noted that in an address last year, Iranian Defense Minister Hosseign Dehghan spoke about the need to evade the enemys anti-missile defense systems with ballistic missiles capable of destroying massive and multiple targets.

First there was an official artist illustration of a Shihab missile releasing sub-munitions in space. Then we saw footage from tests of unknown missiles where mock runways and air base installations appeared to be damaged by sub-munitions. … So it should be understood that Iran is moving in this direction, and the next logical step is MRVs, Inbar said.

Meanwhile, the IMDOs Patel said Israel is looking forward to a milestone: the so-called Caravan-3 test planned for next year on Kodiak Island, Alaska. Planned in lockstep with the Pentagons Missile Defense Agency and conducted as part of the ongoing U.S.-Israel Arrow System Improvement Program, the test will allow Israel to validate its capabilities against much longer-range, threat-representative targets.

The Mediterranean Sea is limited for safety reasons and mostly due to debris. And because Arrow-3 has a huge envelope, it was a joint decision to go to Alaska rather than deal with safety and geographic restrictions, Patel said.

The last time Israel tested the Arrow system abroad was in the 2009-2011 time frame, in a Caravan-2 test at the U.S. naval air station in Point Mugu, California. An earlier Caravan-1 test, also at Point Mugu, was completed in 2004.

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Palestinian Stabs and Critically Wounds Israeli at Supermarket in Central Israel – Haaretz

Israeli security forces confirmed incident was politically motivated terror attack Assailant, a supermarket employee, arrested at scene in Tel Aviv suburb of Yavneh

An Israeli male in his 40s was critically wounded in a stabbing attack at a supermarket in the central Israeli city of Yavneh.Following an initial investigation, Israeli security forces confirmed the incident was a politically motivated terror attack.

The Palestinian assailant, 19-year-old Ismail Abu Aram from the West Bank village of Yatta, was an employee of the Shufersal supermarket and was arrested at the scene after nearby witnesses tackled him. He is currently being interrogated by Israeli security forces.

According to a United Hatzalah emergency responder, the victim was stabbed numerous times in the head, neck and chest and was taken to Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot. He underwent surgery immediately upon arriving at the hospital. Several people were lightly wounded by pepper spray and were treated at the scene by emergency responders.

Israeli forces have since arrived in Yatta to raid the assailant’s home and interrogate his relatives. According to the Shin Bet security service, the assailant has no background as a security threat, though the investigation is ongoing.

Last week, a Palestinian stabbed and moderately wounded an Israeli man at a shawarma stand in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva. The Shin Bet security service said the stabber had been in Israeli jails in 2015 and 2016, and is being questioned.

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Palestinian suspected of murdering his pregnant Israeli lover – The Times of Israel

A Palestinian man has confessed to killing his pregnant Israeli lover, 29-year-old Michal Halimi, who has been missing for over two months, police said on Wednesday.

In a statement, police said that Muhammad Haroufs confession came after an investigation into the disappearance. His suspected motive wasnt immediately clear.

Halimi, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Adam, was first reported missing in May.

Police said that after looking into her disappearance, they determined that Halimi had left her home of her own volition in order to move in with Harouf in the northern West Bank city of Nablus.

Michal Halimi. (Israel Police)

In a Facebook post, the two had announced their intention to become engaged, police said.

After learning of Haroufs relationship with Halimi and that the two had been together in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon on the day of her disappearance, police detained Halouf.

When Halouf gave a number of conflicting accounts of Halimis whereabouts, police expanded their investigation and arrested a number of suspects whom Harouf was in contact with.

They found her body in Holons Sand Dunes Park on July 24.

Harouf then confessed to murdering Halimi and was brought to Holon to reenact the murder. He told police he had choked her and thrown rocks at her head before burying her body.

At the time of her murder, Halimi was eight months pregnant. She was also reportedly married to an Israeli man when she was murdered, and it was not immediately clear who the babys father was.

Police at the scene of Michal Halimis murder in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon in July 2017. (Israel Police)

Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the Jerusalem Magistrates Court, where his remand was extended for five days, Harouf denied killing Halimi for romantic reasons, saying, I wanted to free prisoners.

While leaving the courtroom, Harouf also kicked a prison guard and yelled, Ill kill all the Jews.

Harouf is expected to be indicted at the Tel Aviv District Court for murder and other charges in the coming days.

In a video published hours after Michals name was released for publication, her widower, Aaron, denied the polices statements regarding the existence of a liaison between Harouf and his late wife.

He said that his family would be filing a lawsuit against the Israel Police after the burial and seven-day mourning period and that the truth and justice will come out.

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Jared Kushner Warns ‘There May Be No Solution’ to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – Haaretz

In leaked comments, Kushner expresses support for Israeli decision to place metal detectors at Temple Mount while contradicting Jordan’s version of the deadly embassy incident

In a conversation with Congressional aides on Monday, which was supposed to be off-the-record but was recorded and leaked to the website Wired, President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, expressed hesitancy at the United States’ ability to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians while embracing Israel’s positions on the latest crisis surrounding the Temple Mount.

Kushner called Israel’s decision to put metal detectors on Temple Mount “reasonable,” blamed the Palestinians for incitement, and described the incident in which two Jordanian citizens were killed by an Israeli security guard in the Israeli embassy in Amman, in a way that completely contradicts Jordan’s official accountof the event, which is currently under investigation by the Israeli police.

Kushnerspoke at length about the administration’s attempts to reach a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, sharing some of his thoughts on this issue after half a year of diplomatic engagement with both sides. According to the transcript published by Wired, Kushner said:

“Working through, in this past week, it really showed us how quickly things can ignite in our history, and you have some people who dont want to see and achieve an outcome of peace. And other people sometimes thrive in the chaos, and they thrive and that’s not new to politics and its not new to that conflict. It’s just the way it is.”

Kushner described how the events unfolded following a terror attack on Temple Mount which led to the death of two Israeli police officers (he used the word “guards”) and expressed his opinion that Israel’s response to that event – putting up metal detectors in the entrances to Temple Mount – was a reasonable thing to do.

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“So as tensions were really mounting, I don’t know if everyone is familiar, but there were two peopletwo Israeli guards killed at the Temple Mount, and that’s the first time in many, many, many years that that happened, so Israelis [unintelligible] putting up metal detectors on the Temple Mount, which is not an irrational thing to do. So then what happens is they start inciting it. They say look, you know, this is a change to the status quo. The Temple Mount is a [unintelligible] occupation of Israel, and Israel was saying we dont want anything to do with that, we just want to make sure people are safe. And that really incited a lot of tension in the streets.”

Kushner then described how the administration worked with Israel, the Palestinians and Jordan to solve the situation. In doing so, he described the event which took place at the Israeli embassy in Amman last week, during which to Jordanian citizens were killed and one Israeli security guard was injured, in a way that sounds very different than the Jordanian version of the event, which is currently being investigated by the Israeli police. Here is how Kushner talked about it:

“And then ultimately they said, ‘Okay, we took down the metal detectors but there’s still a bridge up somewhere.’ And they said, ‘Okay, we’ll take that down, too.’ And so Bibi was getting beaten up by the press in Israel, because that was very politically unpopular for him to do. At the same time we got a situation in Jordan where an Israeli security diplomat in Jordan was attacked by two Jordanian men, and in self-defense he killed the attackers. So then it worked out where the Jordanians got the Israelis to accept their people from the embassy back to Israel.”

Kushner then summed up his lecture by saying: “My point is that these things are very, very combustible, and very, very delicate in terms of how you can do, but I think the fact that all these conversations were all done in quiet and nothing leaked out [unintelligible]. But I think we were able to keep things quiet. But I mean, any day something could happen.

“So, what do we offer that’s unique? I dont know Im sure everyone thats tried this has been unique in some ways, but again were trying to follow very logically. We’re thinking about what the right end state is. And were trying to work with the parties very quietly to see if there’s a solution. And there may be no solution, but its one of the problem sets that the president asked us to focus on. So were going to focus on it and try to come to the right conclusion in the near future.”

In recent days the Palestinian Authority has criticized the Trump peace effort for being one-sided and tilted towards Israel. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, slammed the Trump administration on Tuesday. Kushner’s leaked lecture probably won’t help in that regard. For example, Kushner mentions in the leaked transcript the five Israelis – two police officers on Temple Mount and a civilian family in the settlement of Halamish – who were killed in terror attacks during the violent outbreak, but doesn’t refer at all to Palestinian casualties.

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Prime Minister’s son lashes out on social media – The Jerusalem Post

Yair Netanyahu. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

In a tirade published on his Facebook account Yair Netanyahu, the son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, lashed out against three offspring of previous Israeli leaders in a social media attack on the Molad center for the renewal of Israeli democracy.

Molad published a Facebook post under the title “5 things you did not know about Yair Netanyahu”.

According to that post, the son of the Israeli prime minister, aged 25, is not officially employed anywhere, lives with his parents at the Prime Minister’s residence, and is protected by a round-the-clock security detail provided by the Israeli state wherever he goes despite not holding any state position of any kind.

The young Netanyahu is the first adult son of a serving prime minister who had made the decision to live with his parents in the official residency of the prime minister.

Netanyahu has been making headlines this week for all the wrong reasons. His social media tirade was made on the heels of “Doodoogate” in which the first son got into it with a neighbor over his handling of his pet’s droppings.

Now, however, Yair Netanyahu, who uses the user name of Yair Hon, lashed out against Molad. “How lovely it is that your side always talks about slurs, demonization, crucifying people on the media, and crossing of red lines,” he wrote.

He then went on to wonder why other offspring of Israeli prime ministers had not been the subject of similar Facebook posts by Molad, asking where is the media coverage of the son of the late Ariel Sharon “who went to jail, the son of Ehud Olmert and his ‘interesting relationship with a Palestinian,’ or the son of the late Shimon Peres who ‘accidentally killed a fellow soldier while in army service and the matter was hushed up.'”

The Molad post included information about Yair’s relationship with Australian millionaire James Packer. The young Netanyahu is rumored to have received various favors from Packer.

Yair Netanyahu accused Molad of being sponsored by “foreign money” and “the fund for the destruction of Israel.”

The Molad center already used its Facebook section called Project 61 to publish a short video in which Sani Arazi, who runs Project 61, addresses Yair Netanyahu and asks him to apologize or face a lawsuit.

Project 61, named after the 61 members of the Knesset needed to form a coalition, is intended to make various types of information dealing with Israeli politics accessible to the public.

Referencing the dog poo scandal, Netanyahu concluded his post with emojis, offering Molad the middle finger and a pile of excrement.

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50 Years Later, a Bet on Israel Pays Off – Bloomberg

A tidy relationship.

This week marks a personal milestone: the 50th anniversary of my arrival in Israel. I was a junior year abroad student from the University of Michigan, in search of college credits and a look at Jews in their natural habitat. It didnt occur to me that I would wind up going native.

It was not love at first sight. Israel lacked things that a boy from Pontiac, Michigan, regarded as essential elements of civilization. There was no Coke, for example. TV was banned on the grounds that it would keep the workers up too late. Rock’n’ roll was regarded as a vulgar corrupter of youth. Air conditioning, since it was unaffordable, was pronounced unhealthy. People told me things I already knew (Here we have a saying that the grass is more greener in the yard of your friend)or assuming my knowledge of things I didnt (stores were closed on Saturdays). Everyone asked if I was planning to stay. When I said no, I got a lecture on my Zionist obligations; if I said yes, they told me I must be crazy.

Small-town Reform Judaism (someone once called it “the Democratic Party with holidays”) and a year of college Hebrew did not remotely prepare me what I found. I was a Motown kid in a land where people danced in circles to the tune of an accordion. In the States, my friends dodged the draft; here everyone my age was a soldier. A sexual revolution was taking place on the campus in Ann Arbor, and I wanted to hit the barricades.

Still, there was something romantic about being in a small, endangered country that was a year younger than me. Israel was rough but real. I had roots here, even if they were not immediately discernible. As the year went along, I felt a tug. My Hebrew improved. I got an Israeli haircut. I adopted a new first name (“William” sounds silly in a language lacking the letter W). I learned not to stare at people with numbers tattooed on their arms.

Early one morning in March 1968, I was wandering home from a party when I encountered a column of armored cars and trucks loaded with soldiers moving slowly along Jerusalems main drag. The Six-Day War had been won 10 months earlier, but the Arab states didnt accept defeat. There was once again fighting on the Egyptian and Jordanian fronts.

I later learned that those soldiers were returning for an intense and not wholly successful battle. They looked dusty, downcast and exhausted. Many, I imagined, were sons of the men and women with the tattoos. Standing on the sidewalk gawking at them made me uncomfortable. These soldiers were my age, and they were doing my fighting for me.

The next day I showed up at the army induction center and offered my services. An avuncular officer looked me over, and advised me to go back to the States and finish college. You will be more valuable to us if you complete your education, he said. I took his advice, graduated, returned to Israel and signed up.

The avuncular officer, it turned out, was mistaken about the military value of a bachelors degree from the University of Michigan. I was not exactly a force multiplier. And I cant say that the army made a man out of me. But the three years I served gave me a new insight into Israel: It was a real country.

Socialist Zionism educated my generation of Israelis to see their country as a light unto the nations, a goal which, if taken seriously, inevitably set them up for disillusion, frustrated moralizing and eventual cynicism. Religious Zionism taught its children that the Jews, as Gods Chosen People, had a duty to speed the day of messianic redemption– another mission impossible that left its believers in a state of permanent hyper-expectation.Fortunately, most Israelis were not infused with such grandiose ideals. They tend to be pragmatic, materialistic, skeptically patriotic, occasionally excitable but generally inclined toward optimism.

I confess there have been times when my own optimism has been tested. The Arab surprise attack of 1973 caused even Defense Minister Moshe Dayan to publicly fear the countrys existence. In the 1980s there was 500 percent inflation, which some economists called a death spiral. After the 1995 murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, even optimists questioned the countrys democratic equilibrium. And the Palestinian intifada that broke out in 2000 brought dire warnings about the invincibility of suicide bombing.

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Each time, Israel proved reassuringly durable, flexible and capable of learning from experience. An enduring peace with Egypt emerged from the 1973 war. Triple-digit inflation birthed a recovery program that has become an international model. The aftermath of Rabins murder was a study in democratic continuity during a period of national trauma. The intifada allowed Israel to demonstrate that terrorism can be effectively contained.

Obviously, Israel has flaws. It suffers from economic inequities, ethnic and religious tensions, endemic political corruption, and an electoral system that gives inordinate power to theocratic parties. It needs to do more to integrate its Arab citizens. The future of the West Bank awaits a decision. Iran is a dangerous enemy.

Yet the country flourishes. It is incomparably better than the Israel of 1967 — bigger, richer, smarter, safer, freer, culturally sophisticated, ethnically diverse, tolerant and politically mature. Complaining is a national sport here, but the United Nations annual Global Happiness Survey puts Israelis in 11thplace, one behind Sweden, three ahead of the U.S.

I dont generally credit UN statistics, but this one seems plausible. Certainly it reflects my own feelings. Fifty years ago I bet my life and my future on a small, poor, puzzling and beleaguered country. Today I would happily double down, and I am deeply grateful to my 20-year-old self for taking the plunge.

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story: Zev Chafets at zchafets@gmail.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.net

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Occupied labour: The treadmill of Palestinian work in Israel – IRINnews.org


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Occupied labour: The treadmill of Palestinian work in Israel
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Driving near the concrete barrier that separates Israel from the southern West Bank, a car passes a Bedouin settlement, leaves the main road for a dirt one, and veers into a field. It stops next to a gap in the wall. Three men get out, rush through the

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Top Palestinian official looks to Israel for life-saving transplant – The Jerusalem Post

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat speaks during a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah January 2, 2012.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat is suffering from a serious respiratory disease and is on the waiting list for a lung transplant in Israel or the United States, the Ynet website reported on Tuesday.

Erekat, who is also secretary- general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and one of the most recognizable Palestinian public figures, is reported to be suffering from pulmonary fibrosis and has been informed that a transplant will markedly increase his chances of survival.

After a career as Israels chief adversary at the negotiating table, Erekat may now rely on Israel for life-saving treatment.

Pulmonary fibrosis is a form of lung disease that can result in lung scarring. As the lung tissue becomes scarred, the sufferer will find it increasingly difficult to breathe. In most cases, there is no known cause for the disease.

Given his declining health, Erekat is said to have greatly reduced his public duties and sometimes requires oxygen to assist his breathing, Ynet reported.

Erekat, one of the architects of the Oslo Accords, will be temporarily replaced by the head of the Palestinian intelligence service, Majid Faraj.

Faraj is one of the Palestinian Authoritys top officials and has taken on an increasingly important role in Palestinian diplomacy in recent times. In July, Faraj joined Erekat in meetings with US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman in Jerusalem.

Reports that 62-year-old Erekats health is in decline comes at the same time as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbass medical condition is also in question after spending a number of hours at a Ramallah hospital on Saturday.

Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that Abbas was discharged from hospital after undergoing routine medical checks.

Palestinian sources told The Jerusalem Posts sister newspaper Maariv that 82-year-old Mahmoud Abbas was suffering from exhaustion.

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Currency Slide Israel Spent Billions Chasing Is Here at Last …

The bears are coming out for Israels shekel, ending a rally the central bank spent billions of dollars trying to curb. The currency weakened in July for the first time this year, interrupting its longest monthly rising streak in more than a decade, with option contracts signaling the decline isnt over. Deutsche Bank AGs Gautam Kalani on July 3 recommended shorting the shekel, the day it peaked to a record against a basket of currencies. The exchange rate has gone far beyond its fair value, the London-basedemerging market strategist said in an interview on Monday. Over this year, the performance of the shekel has been so strong that its led to more and more momentum creators as speculators piled up on the trade. The Bank of Israel, concerned about the export sector, has repeatedly said the shekel is overvalued. It has spent about $6 billion so far this year trying to stem its gain and its reserves have grown by some $10 billion in all, the most since 2009 on a year-to-date basis. But traders continued to pile into the currency, encouraged bya current-account surplus and inflows into high-tech and natural gas industries. Sentiment changed after data showed consumer prices in June fell unexpectedly, days after Israels central bank said it wont follow developed peers and raise its key interest rate from a record low of 0.1 percent if inflation remains subdued. Read More: Israel Consumer Prices Unexpectedly Fall on Clothing, Transport Expectations have shifted,said Jonathan Katz, aTel Aviv-based chief strategist at Leader Capital Markets. The June inflation numbers were very significant because people started saying, the central bank clearly cant move on rates for a very long time now. If many investors were expecting a hike sometime in 2018, thats now moved to 2019 at the earliest. Bearishness has risen, judging by the 25-delta risk reversal, which is based on three-month options. It shows traders preference for shekel puts over calls jumped in July by the most in almost four years on a net basis. The shekels one-month implied volatility climbed 70 basis points in July to 6.6 percent. The contracts are the only ones among the worlds currencies to rise so far this year on a net basis. The shekel depreciated 2.1 percent in July and slipped another 0.5 percent Friday to 3.6161 per dollar as of 1:31 p.m. in Tel Aviv, its weakest level since April. It has fallen for six straight days, the longest run since October 2015. Based on Deutsches valuations, which include factors such as inflation, productivity and trade, Kalani sees the currency weakening to 3.65 per dollar, without specifying a timeframe. He also predicts the central bank will step up its dollar purchases to extend the currencys decline, but hes still bullish on the currencys long-term prospects. You had a trend with very little volatility, so it was quite attractive for speculators to jump in, Kalani said. Now we are at a point where the strengthening trend seems to have stopped, which will force speculators to unwind their positions, which could move the dollar-shekel higher. With assistance by Yaacov Benmeleh

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August 3, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Israel begins concept work on Arrow-4 defender – DefenseNews.com

TEL AVIV, Israel Israels Defense Ministry and industry developers have begun early work on what could evolve into the Arrow-4, a new missile-intercepting system to defend against much more sophisticated, future threats from Iran. In interviews here, defense and industry sources assess the specter of massive salvo strikes, sub-munition warheads and multiple reentry vehicles, or MRV, as the next major technological challenges that Israels integrated, multitiered national defense network may have to contend with a decade down the road. To this end, Israels MAFAT Defense Research and Development Authority is working with state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries and other firms to evaluate technologies needed to improve the ability to track, target and ultimately destroy such threats. Were very happy that the missile defense architecture of Israel is working, but, as you know, we cant stand in place. We have to remain at least one step ahead of the threat, said Moshe Patel, director of the Israel Missile Defense Organization, part of the MoDs MAFAT Defense Research and Development Authority. Were today evaluating technology in the industry and in MAFAT to determine the way forward. According to Patel, ongoing work is in the very early stages, and is focused not only on a new interceptor but on the infrastructure that may be needed to support it. He noted that Israel recently started to share its preliminary work and concept definition studies with American partners at the Pentagons Missile Defense Agency. Just like Iron Dome started with infrastructure [studies] and [research and development] within MAFAT, we are starting to interest the Americans and share with them what we believe could be the way forward, Patel told Defense News. Boaz Levy, IAI executive vice president and head of the group that developed the operational Arrow-2 and Arrow-3 interceptors, said it was probably too early to call the effort Arrow-4. Nevertheless, he acknowledged that ongoing design studies are aimed at a future interceptor that will extend capabilities beyond Arrow-2, which intercepts Scud-type ballistic missiles high within Earths atmosphere, and Arrow-3, which is designed to destroy targets in space. Its not yet Arrow-4. Were just now in the initial design phase as we work to define the next generation of threats, Levy said. Development of these systems take many years. So the next step, from our perspective, is to get into the future threat and to develop capabilities to stay ahead of it, he added. Tal Inbar, head of the Space and UAV Research Center at Israels Fisher Institute for Air and Space Strategic Studies, closely monitors speeches, literature and images coming out of Iran. He noted that in an address last year, Iranian Defense Minister Hosseign Dehghan spoke about the need to evade the enemys anti-missile defense systems with ballistic missiles capable of destroying massive and multiple targets. First there was an official artist illustration of a Shihab missile releasing sub-munitions in space. Then we saw footage from tests of unknown missiles where mock runways and air base installations appeared to be damaged by sub-munitions. … So it should be understood that Iran is moving in this direction, and the next logical step is MRVs, Inbar said. Meanwhile, the IMDOs Patel said Israel is looking forward to a milestone: the so-called Caravan-3 test planned for next year on Kodiak Island, Alaska. Planned in lockstep with the Pentagons Missile Defense Agency and conducted as part of the ongoing U.S.-Israel Arrow System Improvement Program, the test will allow Israel to validate its capabilities against much longer-range, threat-representative targets. The Mediterranean Sea is limited for safety reasons and mostly due to debris. And because Arrow-3 has a huge envelope, it was a joint decision to go to Alaska rather than deal with safety and geographic restrictions, Patel said. The last time Israel tested the Arrow system abroad was in the 2009-2011 time frame, in a Caravan-2 test at the U.S. naval air station in Point Mugu, California. An earlier Caravan-1 test, also at Point Mugu, was completed in 2004.

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August 2, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Palestinian Stabs and Critically Wounds Israeli at Supermarket in Central Israel – Haaretz

Israeli security forces confirmed incident was politically motivated terror attack Assailant, a supermarket employee, arrested at scene in Tel Aviv suburb of Yavneh An Israeli male in his 40s was critically wounded in a stabbing attack at a supermarket in the central Israeli city of Yavneh.Following an initial investigation, Israeli security forces confirmed the incident was a politically motivated terror attack. The Palestinian assailant, 19-year-old Ismail Abu Aram from the West Bank village of Yatta, was an employee of the Shufersal supermarket and was arrested at the scene after nearby witnesses tackled him. He is currently being interrogated by Israeli security forces. According to a United Hatzalah emergency responder, the victim was stabbed numerous times in the head, neck and chest and was taken to Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot. He underwent surgery immediately upon arriving at the hospital. Several people were lightly wounded by pepper spray and were treated at the scene by emergency responders. Israeli forces have since arrived in Yatta to raid the assailant’s home and interrogate his relatives. According to the Shin Bet security service, the assailant has no background as a security threat, though the investigation is ongoing. Last week, a Palestinian stabbed and moderately wounded an Israeli man at a shawarma stand in the central Israeli city of Petah Tikva. The Shin Bet security service said the stabber had been in Israeli jails in 2015 and 2016, and is being questioned. We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting. Please try again later. This email address has already registered for this newsletter. Want to enjoy ‘Zen’ reading – with no ads and just the article? Subscribe today

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August 2, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Palestinian suspected of murdering his pregnant Israeli lover – The Times of Israel

A Palestinian man has confessed to killing his pregnant Israeli lover, 29-year-old Michal Halimi, who has been missing for over two months, police said on Wednesday. In a statement, police said that Muhammad Haroufs confession came after an investigation into the disappearance. His suspected motive wasnt immediately clear. Halimi, a resident of the West Bank settlement of Adam, was first reported missing in May. Police said that after looking into her disappearance, they determined that Halimi had left her home of her own volition in order to move in with Harouf in the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Michal Halimi. (Israel Police) In a Facebook post, the two had announced their intention to become engaged, police said. After learning of Haroufs relationship with Halimi and that the two had been together in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon on the day of her disappearance, police detained Halouf. When Halouf gave a number of conflicting accounts of Halimis whereabouts, police expanded their investigation and arrested a number of suspects whom Harouf was in contact with. They found her body in Holons Sand Dunes Park on July 24. Harouf then confessed to murdering Halimi and was brought to Holon to reenact the murder. He told police he had choked her and thrown rocks at her head before burying her body. At the time of her murder, Halimi was eight months pregnant. She was also reportedly married to an Israeli man when she was murdered, and it was not immediately clear who the babys father was. Police at the scene of Michal Halimis murder in the Tel Aviv suburb of Holon in July 2017. (Israel Police) Speaking to reporters Wednesday at the Jerusalem Magistrates Court, where his remand was extended for five days, Harouf denied killing Halimi for romantic reasons, saying, I wanted to free prisoners. While leaving the courtroom, Harouf also kicked a prison guard and yelled, Ill kill all the Jews. Harouf is expected to be indicted at the Tel Aviv District Court for murder and other charges in the coming days. In a video published hours after Michals name was released for publication, her widower, Aaron, denied the polices statements regarding the existence of a liaison between Harouf and his late wife. He said that his family would be filing a lawsuit against the Israel Police after the burial and seven-day mourning period and that the truth and justice will come out.

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August 2, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Jared Kushner Warns ‘There May Be No Solution’ to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict – Haaretz

In leaked comments, Kushner expresses support for Israeli decision to place metal detectors at Temple Mount while contradicting Jordan’s version of the deadly embassy incident In a conversation with Congressional aides on Monday, which was supposed to be off-the-record but was recorded and leaked to the website Wired, President Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law, Jared Kushner, expressed hesitancy at the United States’ ability to broker a peace deal between Israel and the Palestinians while embracing Israel’s positions on the latest crisis surrounding the Temple Mount. Kushner called Israel’s decision to put metal detectors on Temple Mount “reasonable,” blamed the Palestinians for incitement, and described the incident in which two Jordanian citizens were killed by an Israeli security guard in the Israeli embassy in Amman, in a way that completely contradicts Jordan’s official accountof the event, which is currently under investigation by the Israeli police. Kushnerspoke at length about the administration’s attempts to reach a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, sharing some of his thoughts on this issue after half a year of diplomatic engagement with both sides. According to the transcript published by Wired, Kushner said: “Working through, in this past week, it really showed us how quickly things can ignite in our history, and you have some people who dont want to see and achieve an outcome of peace. And other people sometimes thrive in the chaos, and they thrive and that’s not new to politics and its not new to that conflict. It’s just the way it is.” Kushner described how the events unfolded following a terror attack on Temple Mount which led to the death of two Israeli police officers (he used the word “guards”) and expressed his opinion that Israel’s response to that event – putting up metal detectors in the entrances to Temple Mount – was a reasonable thing to do. We’ve got more newsletters we think you’ll find interesting. Please try again later. This email address has already registered for this newsletter. “So as tensions were really mounting, I don’t know if everyone is familiar, but there were two peopletwo Israeli guards killed at the Temple Mount, and that’s the first time in many, many, many years that that happened, so Israelis [unintelligible] putting up metal detectors on the Temple Mount, which is not an irrational thing to do. So then what happens is they start inciting it. They say look, you know, this is a change to the status quo. The Temple Mount is a [unintelligible] occupation of Israel, and Israel was saying we dont want anything to do with that, we just want to make sure people are safe. And that really incited a lot of tension in the streets.” Kushner then described how the administration worked with Israel, the Palestinians and Jordan to solve the situation. In doing so, he described the event which took place at the Israeli embassy in Amman last week, during which to Jordanian citizens were killed and one Israeli security guard was injured, in a way that sounds very different than the Jordanian version of the event, which is currently being investigated by the Israeli police. Here is how Kushner talked about it: “And then ultimately they said, ‘Okay, we took down the metal detectors but there’s still a bridge up somewhere.’ And they said, ‘Okay, we’ll take that down, too.’ And so Bibi was getting beaten up by the press in Israel, because that was very politically unpopular for him to do. At the same time we got a situation in Jordan where an Israeli security diplomat in Jordan was attacked by two Jordanian men, and in self-defense he killed the attackers. So then it worked out where the Jordanians got the Israelis to accept their people from the embassy back to Israel.” Kushner then summed up his lecture by saying: “My point is that these things are very, very combustible, and very, very delicate in terms of how you can do, but I think the fact that all these conversations were all done in quiet and nothing leaked out [unintelligible]. But I think we were able to keep things quiet. But I mean, any day something could happen. “So, what do we offer that’s unique? I dont know Im sure everyone thats tried this has been unique in some ways, but again were trying to follow very logically. We’re thinking about what the right end state is. And were trying to work with the parties very quietly to see if there’s a solution. And there may be no solution, but its one of the problem sets that the president asked us to focus on. So were going to focus on it and try to come to the right conclusion in the near future.” In recent days the Palestinian Authority has criticized the Trump peace effort for being one-sided and tilted towards Israel. Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, slammed the Trump administration on Tuesday. Kushner’s leaked lecture probably won’t help in that regard. For example, Kushner mentions in the leaked transcript the five Israelis – two police officers on Temple Mount and a civilian family in the settlement of Halamish – who were killed in terror attacks during the violent outbreak, but doesn’t refer at all to Palestinian casualties. Want to enjoy ‘Zen’ reading – with no ads and just the article? Subscribe today

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August 2, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Prime Minister’s son lashes out on social media – The Jerusalem Post

Yair Netanyahu. (photo credit:MARC ISRAEL SELLEM) In a tirade published on his Facebook account Yair Netanyahu, the son of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, lashed out against three offspring of previous Israeli leaders in a social media attack on the Molad center for the renewal of Israeli democracy. Molad published a Facebook post under the title “5 things you did not know about Yair Netanyahu”. According to that post, the son of the Israeli prime minister, aged 25, is not officially employed anywhere, lives with his parents at the Prime Minister’s residence, and is protected by a round-the-clock security detail provided by the Israeli state wherever he goes despite not holding any state position of any kind. The young Netanyahu is the first adult son of a serving prime minister who had made the decision to live with his parents in the official residency of the prime minister. Netanyahu has been making headlines this week for all the wrong reasons. His social media tirade was made on the heels of “Doodoogate” in which the first son got into it with a neighbor over his handling of his pet’s droppings. Now, however, Yair Netanyahu, who uses the user name of Yair Hon, lashed out against Molad. “How lovely it is that your side always talks about slurs, demonization, crucifying people on the media, and crossing of red lines,” he wrote. He then went on to wonder why other offspring of Israeli prime ministers had not been the subject of similar Facebook posts by Molad, asking where is the media coverage of the son of the late Ariel Sharon “who went to jail, the son of Ehud Olmert and his ‘interesting relationship with a Palestinian,’ or the son of the late Shimon Peres who ‘accidentally killed a fellow soldier while in army service and the matter was hushed up.'” The Molad post included information about Yair’s relationship with Australian millionaire James Packer. The young Netanyahu is rumored to have received various favors from Packer. Yair Netanyahu accused Molad of being sponsored by “foreign money” and “the fund for the destruction of Israel.” The Molad center already used its Facebook section called Project 61 to publish a short video in which Sani Arazi, who runs Project 61, addresses Yair Netanyahu and asks him to apologize or face a lawsuit. Project 61, named after the 61 members of the Knesset needed to form a coalition, is intended to make various types of information dealing with Israeli politics accessible to the public. Referencing the dog poo scandal, Netanyahu concluded his post with emojis, offering Molad the middle finger and a pile of excrement. Share on facebook

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August 2, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

50 Years Later, a Bet on Israel Pays Off – Bloomberg

A tidy relationship. This week marks a personal milestone: the 50th anniversary of my arrival in Israel. I was a junior year abroad student from the University of Michigan, in search of college credits and a look at Jews in their natural habitat. It didnt occur to me that I would wind up going native. It was not love at first sight. Israel lacked things that a boy from Pontiac, Michigan, regarded as essential elements of civilization. There was no Coke, for example. TV was banned on the grounds that it would keep the workers up too late. Rock’n’ roll was regarded as a vulgar corrupter of youth. Air conditioning, since it was unaffordable, was pronounced unhealthy. People told me things I already knew (Here we have a saying that the grass is more greener in the yard of your friend)or assuming my knowledge of things I didnt (stores were closed on Saturdays). Everyone asked if I was planning to stay. When I said no, I got a lecture on my Zionist obligations; if I said yes, they told me I must be crazy. Small-town Reform Judaism (someone once called it “the Democratic Party with holidays”) and a year of college Hebrew did not remotely prepare me what I found. I was a Motown kid in a land where people danced in circles to the tune of an accordion. In the States, my friends dodged the draft; here everyone my age was a soldier. A sexual revolution was taking place on the campus in Ann Arbor, and I wanted to hit the barricades. Still, there was something romantic about being in a small, endangered country that was a year younger than me. Israel was rough but real. I had roots here, even if they were not immediately discernible. As the year went along, I felt a tug. My Hebrew improved. I got an Israeli haircut. I adopted a new first name (“William” sounds silly in a language lacking the letter W). I learned not to stare at people with numbers tattooed on their arms. Early one morning in March 1968, I was wandering home from a party when I encountered a column of armored cars and trucks loaded with soldiers moving slowly along Jerusalems main drag. The Six-Day War had been won 10 months earlier, but the Arab states didnt accept defeat. There was once again fighting on the Egyptian and Jordanian fronts. I later learned that those soldiers were returning for an intense and not wholly successful battle. They looked dusty, downcast and exhausted. Many, I imagined, were sons of the men and women with the tattoos. Standing on the sidewalk gawking at them made me uncomfortable. These soldiers were my age, and they were doing my fighting for me. The next day I showed up at the army induction center and offered my services. An avuncular officer looked me over, and advised me to go back to the States and finish college. You will be more valuable to us if you complete your education, he said. I took his advice, graduated, returned to Israel and signed up. The avuncular officer, it turned out, was mistaken about the military value of a bachelors degree from the University of Michigan. I was not exactly a force multiplier. And I cant say that the army made a man out of me. But the three years I served gave me a new insight into Israel: It was a real country. Socialist Zionism educated my generation of Israelis to see their country as a light unto the nations, a goal which, if taken seriously, inevitably set them up for disillusion, frustrated moralizing and eventual cynicism. Religious Zionism taught its children that the Jews, as Gods Chosen People, had a duty to speed the day of messianic redemption– another mission impossible that left its believers in a state of permanent hyper-expectation.Fortunately, most Israelis were not infused with such grandiose ideals. They tend to be pragmatic, materialistic, skeptically patriotic, occasionally excitable but generally inclined toward optimism. I confess there have been times when my own optimism has been tested. The Arab surprise attack of 1973 caused even Defense Minister Moshe Dayan to publicly fear the countrys existence. In the 1980s there was 500 percent inflation, which some economists called a death spiral. After the 1995 murder of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, even optimists questioned the countrys democratic equilibrium. And the Palestinian intifada that broke out in 2000 brought dire warnings about the invincibility of suicide bombing. Clear thinking from leading voices in business, economics, politics, foreign affairs, culture, and more. Share the View Each time, Israel proved reassuringly durable, flexible and capable of learning from experience. An enduring peace with Egypt emerged from the 1973 war. Triple-digit inflation birthed a recovery program that has become an international model. The aftermath of Rabins murder was a study in democratic continuity during a period of national trauma. The intifada allowed Israel to demonstrate that terrorism can be effectively contained. Obviously, Israel has flaws. It suffers from economic inequities, ethnic and religious tensions, endemic political corruption, and an electoral system that gives inordinate power to theocratic parties. It needs to do more to integrate its Arab citizens. The future of the West Bank awaits a decision. Iran is a dangerous enemy. Yet the country flourishes. It is incomparably better than the Israel of 1967 — bigger, richer, smarter, safer, freer, culturally sophisticated, ethnically diverse, tolerant and politically mature. Complaining is a national sport here, but the United Nations annual Global Happiness Survey puts Israelis in 11thplace, one behind Sweden, three ahead of the U.S. I dont generally credit UN statistics, but this one seems plausible. Certainly it reflects my own feelings. Fifty years ago I bet my life and my future on a small, poor, puzzling and beleaguered country. Today I would happily double down, and I am deeply grateful to my 20-year-old self for taking the plunge. This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners. To contact the author of this story: Zev Chafets at zchafets@gmail.com To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.net

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August 2, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Occupied labour: The treadmill of Palestinian work in Israel – IRINnews.org

IRINnews.org Occupied labour: The treadmill of Palestinian work in Israel IRINnews.org Driving near the concrete barrier that separates Israel from the southern West Bank, a car passes a Bedouin settlement, leaves the main road for a dirt one, and veers into a field. It stops next to a gap in the wall. Three men get out, rush through the … and more »

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August 2, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed

Top Palestinian official looks to Israel for life-saving transplant – The Jerusalem Post

Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat speaks during a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah January 2, 2012.. (photo credit:REUTERS) Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat is suffering from a serious respiratory disease and is on the waiting list for a lung transplant in Israel or the United States, the Ynet website reported on Tuesday. Erekat, who is also secretary- general of the Palestinian Liberation Organization and one of the most recognizable Palestinian public figures, is reported to be suffering from pulmonary fibrosis and has been informed that a transplant will markedly increase his chances of survival. After a career as Israels chief adversary at the negotiating table, Erekat may now rely on Israel for life-saving treatment. Pulmonary fibrosis is a form of lung disease that can result in lung scarring. As the lung tissue becomes scarred, the sufferer will find it increasingly difficult to breathe. In most cases, there is no known cause for the disease. Given his declining health, Erekat is said to have greatly reduced his public duties and sometimes requires oxygen to assist his breathing, Ynet reported. Erekat, one of the architects of the Oslo Accords, will be temporarily replaced by the head of the Palestinian intelligence service, Majid Faraj. Faraj is one of the Palestinian Authoritys top officials and has taken on an increasingly important role in Palestinian diplomacy in recent times. In July, Faraj joined Erekat in meetings with US Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt and US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman in Jerusalem. Reports that 62-year-old Erekats health is in decline comes at the same time as Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbass medical condition is also in question after spending a number of hours at a Ramallah hospital on Saturday. Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that Abbas was discharged from hospital after undergoing routine medical checks. Palestinian sources told The Jerusalem Posts sister newspaper Maariv that 82-year-old Mahmoud Abbas was suffering from exhaustion. Share on facebook

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August 2, 2017   Posted in: Israel  Comments Closed


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