Conversion therapy banned; Israeli teens suspected in death: Israel Update

   January 11, 2019



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Shin Bet, Israel's security service, revealed that a group of Jewish teenagers arrested over the past week are suspected of involvement in the murder of a Palestinian woman in October. Aisha Rabi, 47, was struck in the head with a large stone while sitting in the passenger seat of a car being driven by her husband in the northern West Bank. The five teenagers are students at the Pri Haaretz yeshiva high school in the northern West Bank settlement of Rehelim. To help the suspected students, a group of far-right activists from the settlement of Yitzhar drove to the yeshiva, violating religious laws that prohibit driving on the Sabbath, to coach them on how to withstand Shin Bet interrogations. Additionally, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked spoke on the phone with the mother of one of the teens arrested, telling her to “stay strong.” In response, Shin Bet declared that its interrogations are carried out "according to the law.” The prime suspect in the killing will remain in custody after a hearing about an early release request was postponed. 


A freshman congresswoman hostile to Zionism is attacking a bipartisan effort to legislate against Israel boycotts in her first week on the job, accusing advocates of the bill of dual loyalty. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Michigan and a Palestinian-American, took to Twitter on Sunday to criticize the “Strengthening America’s Security in the Middle East Act of 2019.” Congress’s passage of S.1 would codify a 10-year memorandum of understanding on military assistance with Israel, reauthorize defense cooperation with Jordan, reimpose sanctions on entities financing the Syrian government, and authorize state and local governments to combat the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel. Tlaib, who supports the BDS movement, wrote that supporters of the bill “forgot what country they represent.” In a series of tweets, AJC wrote that “it’s outrageous to imply dual loyalty because you disagree with a policy initiative,” while sharing a picture of Tlaib wrapped in a Palestinian flag.


Disgraced former Israeli minister Gonen Segev was convicted by the Jerusalem District Court of spying for Iran in a plea bargain. The former energy and infrastructure minister, who also spent time in jail for drug smuggling, forgery and fraud, was extradited from Equatorial Guinea and arrested in May on suspicion of assisting the enemy in a time of war, spying against the State of Israel and providing intelligence to the enemy. Segev told interrogators that he did not hand over any classified information to his Iranian handlers and that he had no ideological or financial motive to help an enemy state.


The Israeli Medical Association (IMA) imposed a ban on conversion therapy by Israeli doctors, which will help protect lgbt people from treatments that claim to make them straight. Members who perform conversion therapy could now be expelled from the IMA, which represents 90 percent of the country’s doctors, if a complaint is filed to its ethics committee, said IMA spokeswoman Ziva Miral. Still more work needs to be done with religious groups that support controversial "cures," activists said. Conversion therapy, which can include hypnosis and electric shocks, is based on the belief that being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is a mental illness that can be cured.


Israeli farmers from communities bordering Gaza will have some 16,000 dunams of agricultural land allocated to them once the IDF clears landmines from the area. Swathes of Israeli farmland has been scorched by incendiary airborne devices launched into Israel by militants in Gaza. The move comes in the wake of renewed violence along the southern border after several weeks of relative quiet. On Sunday, Gaza militants used a cluster of balloons to fly a styrofoam airplane carrying an explosive  device into southern Israel. On Friday, a Palestinian woman was shot and killed during a mass riot along the Gaza border. The Israeli Air Force also attacked a Hamas post in Gaza in response to violence according to the IDF. 


Three delegations from Iraq have secretly visited Israel in recent months and met with Israeli officials. The delegations, which totaled 15 people, were made up of influential Iraqis including Sunni and Shiite religious leaders, according to Hadashot television news on Sunday. The tours were socio-cultural, including visiting the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum and meetings with academics and organizations dealing with Iraqi Jewry, according to the report.



Shabbat Shalom,


Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC


Shep Englander, CEO, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati


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