What’s Happening in Medinat Yisrael
There’s a lot happening in Israel – check out this list of news and updates ranging from zoo news to Israeli politics.
- Reform Jewish Leader Responds to MK David Rotem: Rabbi Rick Jacobs issued a response to Member of Knesset David Rotem, a member of the Likud-Beiteinu party and head of the Knesset Committee on Constitution, Law, and Justice, who sparked an uproar when he said the Reform Movement “is not Jewish…they are another religion.” Read the full statement from Rabbi Jacobs at the URJ’s Press Page. Rotem subsequently “walked back” his remarks.
- Middle East Peace Process: Israeli President Shimon Peres recently thanked Secretary of State John Kerry for his efforts toward the peace process. A framework for an agreement is expected in the coming weeks or months.
- New anteaters arrive in Ramat Gan: Two female anteaters have moved to the Ramat Gan safari park from Denmark. This makes three anteaters in Israel – this mother-daughter pair join a 9-year-old male named Termite.
- Curbing laws restricting settlement construction: Member of Parliament Miri Regev (Likud) sponsored a bill that would bar the government from restricting settlement construction “due to diplomatic considerations” without the permission of the Knesset. The bill also called for an application of Israeli law to all West Bank settlements. Regev submitted a similar bill to the previous Knesset; it failed to pass.
- The SodaStream controversy: Carbonated beverage machine maker SodaStream’s manufacturing plant in the Mishor Adumim industrial park (located within the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim in the West Bank) has sparked recent debates over Israeli settlements. Actress Scarlett Johansson’s corporate sponsorship of SodaStream came into conflict with her other role as an Oxfam Global Ambassador after Oxfam criticized SodaStream for contributing to “denial of rights of the Palestinian communities [we] work to support.” Johansson’s resigned from her Oxfam position, which you can read about here, and check out this op-ed on her response to criticism.