Disappearance of Yemenite Children an ‘Open Wound,’ Netanyahu Says
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Documents about the so-called “Yemenite Children Affair” may finally be unsealed after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday voiced support for the release of the minutes from the special state commission set up to investigate the matter two decades ago.
The affair involves the disappearance and alleged kidnapping of hundreds of babies and toddlers of mostly Yemenite immigrants from hospitals in the early years of Israel’s statehood. The parents were told their children had died, but never saw a body or received a death certificate.
“This is an open wound that continues to bleed for those families who were left in the dark, not knowing what happened to their children,” Netanyahu said Tuesday.
The prime minister made the comments in a pre-recorded video message to the Knesset Constitution Law and Justice Committee, which held a special hearing on the matter. Netanyahu said that “those families [whose children were unaccounted for] seek the truth and want to know what happened. I believe it is time
to find out what happened and to right this wrong. It is beyond me why those documents are sealed, but we will look into this matter and take care of it, with your help.”
Netanyahu asked Minister Without Portfolio Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) to spearhead the Israeli government’s efforts on the Yemenite Children Affair.
Member of Knesset Nurit Koren (Likud), who called the hearing, said, “I am of Yemenite descent and this affair tops my list of concerns. The stories of disappearance have been part and parcel of my childhood. As a mother and a grandmother, I can’t even imagine what it feels like when a baby is taken from his mother’s arms. It is our moral obligation to put an end to this injustice. I will not rest until the truth comes out.”
MK Yossi Yonah (Zionist Union) said a cousin of his had been hospitalized for hepatitis and had disappeared.
“The doctors said she died, but when her father asked for a death certificate, he was told, ‘Do you think you’re in Iraq? Here in Israel we don’t issue death certificates for babies,’” Yonah said.
Israel and Turkey Reportedly Nearing Deal to Normalize Relations
(JNS.org) Former Middle East allies Israel and Turkey are reportedly nearing a deal to normalize relations.
Delegations from both sides, headed by Turkish Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Feridun Sinirlioğlu and a special envoy representing the Israeli prime minister, Joseph Ciechanover, are scheduled to meet June 26 to declare the restoration of ties, Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News reported.
Sources cited by the Hurriyet Daily News said that after the declaration, an agreement would be finalized and signed in July by foreign ministry undersecretaries, and relations would be officially normalized by the end of that month.
Turkish-Israeli relations broke down after the 2010 Gaza flotilla incident, in which nine Turkish militants were killed in clashes after they attacked Israeli commandos who boarded a ship that was trying to breach the blockade on Hamas-ruled Gaza.
There have been numerous reports of impending reconciliation between the former allies in recent years, but a normalization agreement has yet to materialize. In 2013, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized to Turkey for the flotilla incident. In late 2015, Israel and Turkey began secret negotiations, with other rounds continuing in 2016 in Geneva and London.
According to reports, the two sides have met halfway on Turkey’s demand that Israel lift the blockade on Gaza. Israel, meanwhile, has accepted procedures for a hospital to be built in Gaza and has agreed to not block Turkish-distributed supplies of medicine and personnel for the hospital. Additionally, Turkey and Germany will jointly build a power plant in Gaza, and Turkey will build a desalination plant there. All Turkish aid to Gaza will be delivered through Israel’s Ashdod port.
Israel Military Industries Inks $39 Million Deal With U.S. Civilian Market
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) The Israel Military Industries (IMI) weapons manufacturer confirmed Tuesday that it has signed a $39 million deal to supply the U.S. civilian market with small caliber ammunition.
The deal includes supplying U.S.-based distributors with light munitions used for hunting, sports, and in shooting ranges, the company said.
The order was placed by distributors that IMI has been collaborating with for more than two years, and is based on a business strategy seeking to direct one-third of the company’s sales to the civilian market.
“Working with the Israel Defense Forces and various special forces gives the Small Caliber Ammunition Division a significant advantage in the international market,” said Israel Shmilovitz, head of the IMI Small Caliber Ammunition Division.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Army has recently increased its orders with IMI, including key components for its flagship Modular Active Protection System program.
Israeli Veterans Develop New Gun Lock to Prevent Friendly Fire
(JNS.org) Israel Defense Forces (IDF) veterans have developed a new gun lock that can prevent accidents and keep the owner’s weapon secure.
Zore X is a caliber-specific device that has two modes. The first mode is “awareness”—alerting the owner if someone tries to tamper with the gun. For the second mode, if someone tries to load the gun while it is locked, the locking mechanism “immediately expands, preventing the gun from being loaded.”
The Israeli start-up Zore has also developed a watchdog alert system that notifies gun owners on their smartphone that someone is tampering with their firearm. CEO Yonatan Zimmerman and CTO Yalon Fishbein co-founded Zore and have already raised $94,000 of the start-up’s $100,000 goal on the Indiegogo crowd-funding platform.
Zimmerman told Geektime that Zore was founded to deal with the well-known problem of friendly fire in the military. The specific catalyst for the invention came when 21-year-old IDF Capt. Tal Nachman was killed by fellow soldiers who misidentified him as a Hamas terrorist near the Gaza border in 2014.
“We don’t believe that the solution will come from Silicon Valley. It needs to come from people who know and understand the importance of guns,” Zimmerman said.
Jordan’s King Abdullah Vows to Strike With ‘Iron Fist’ After Suicide Attack
(JNS.org) Jordan’s King Abdullah vowed to strike back “with an iron fist” following a suicide bombing attack that killed six soldiers in a remote area near the Jordanian border with Syria on Tuesday.
“Jordan will respond with an iron fist against anyone who tries to tamper with its security and borders,” Abdullah said during a meeting with senior military officials, AFP reported.
“Such criminal acts will only increase our determination to confront terrorism and terror gangs that target army personnel who protect the security of the country and its borders,” he added.
According to the Jordanian military, the suicide bombing killed four border guards, one member of the country’s security services, and one member of the civil defense directorate. Fourteen others were wounded.
While there was no immediate claiming of responsibility for the attack, Jordan is part of the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State terror group in Syria and Iraq. Jordan has been targeted by Islamic State in the past, when a Jordanian fighter pilot was captured after his plane went down and was later gruesomely burned alive by the terror group.
Israel Intercepts Wetsuit Shipment Bound for Gaza Terrorists
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Israel announced Monday that it has foiled an attempt to smuggle dozens of professional wetsuits into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.
It is believed the wetsuits were intended to be used by terrorists in Gaza, including members of the Hamas naval commando unit. The illicit shipment was discovered and seized by security guards and Shin Bet security agency personnel at the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza.
The wetsuits were hidden among sports equipment and clothing that had been imported by a supplier in a Palestinian Authority-ruled part of the West Bank, and were reshipped to Gaza.
The Israeli Defense Ministry has launched an investigation into the incident.
Israel’s Progress on Disability Integration Is Featured at the U.N.
(JNS.org) Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon this week invited a delegation from the Special in Uniform (SIU) initiative to the U.N. to share their stories about how people with disabilities can contribute to society and to a nation.
Israel passed the Equal Rights for People with Disabilities Law in 1999 to protect the dignity and freedom of people with disabilities. In 2008, the U.N. followed in Israel’s footsteps by ratifying the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an international human rights treaty, to protect the rights and dignity of people with disabilities. With SIU and other Israeli organizations continuing to draw global attention for their efforts, Israel is at the forefront of creating a society in which no one is left behind because of their abilities.
An Israeli organization, SIU now operates in partnership with Jewish National Fund (JNF) to integrate young people with disabilities into the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and, in turn, into society. SIU’s core belief is that everyone, no matter their physical or mental abilities, belongs and has the basic right to reach his or her full potential. SIU focuses on the unique talents of each individual participant and helps find a job within the IDF that matches their skill set. The program also mentors and guides SIU participants after army service, pairing them up with companies to obtain meaningful jobs and careers.
According to JNF, for American donors, SIU is one of the organization’s most popular program areas under the special needs and disabilities umbrella.