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US Embassy Move, Poverty in Israel, Donut Burger


Trump: Moving U.S. Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem ‘Very Big Priority’

Felicia Schwartz, Wall Street Journal, December 12th 2016

Recap:

By considering an embassy move from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, President-elect Donald Trump stands to reverse longstanding US policy and spark the ire of the Arab world.

The Context:

  • The 1947 Partition Plan called for a Jewish state, a Palestinian state and an internationally monitored Jerusalem. Following the Palestinian rejection of statehood and Israel’s subsequent War of Independence victory, Israel captured Western Jerusalem in 1948 and annexed East Jerusalem following the 1967 War [1]. The United Nations (UN) does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and most countries maintain their embassies in Tel Aviv [2].

  • In 1995, Congress passed a law requiring the US embassy be relocated to Jerusalem however, the legislation also allows the President to waive the order in six month intervals for national security reasons, a loophole Presidents from both parties have consistently employed since the law’s passage.

  • Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, equated an embassy move to a defiance of Palestine’s rights over Jerusalem and threatened to unleash “all of the weapons [it has] in the UN [3].”

  • Past presidential hopefuls, including George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, reneged on campaign promises for an embassy move to avoid “trigger[ing] violent demonstrations against [US] embassies.”

  • The embassy’s prospective location in Jerusalem’s Talpiot neighborhood [4] is currently occupied by Israel’s Immigrant Absorption Ministry and is not available until 2020. The US currently owns the property [5].

Conversation Points:

  • Does an embassy move serve any practical purpose or is the gesture simply symbolic?

  • Do the benefits of an embassy move outweigh the consequences?

  • Will moving the US embassy to Jerusalem make resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict more difficult?

Politicians blame one another for findings of poverty report

Lidar Grave-Lazi, Jerusalem Post, December 12th 2016

Recap:

Humanitarian-aid NGO Latet released its annual Alternative Poverty Report that found 2.4 million people, or 29% of Israel’s population, are living in poverty. The number is considerably higher than the 1.7 million person figure currently listed on official government reports.

The Context:

  • Over 1 million Israeli children live under the poverty line, as do 36% of single Israeli mothers [6]. Latet’s survey examined 1,100 people from the general public [7].

  • Ilan Gilon, chairman of the lobby for the rising cost of living, slammed the government for “fighting the poor instead of fighting poverty.” Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak took the opportunity to lash out at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for boasting to foreign media “that things have never been better.” MK’s also singled out Education Minister Naftali Bennett for allocating funds to support Jewish students abroad instead of underprivileged children in the country.

  • The Department of Welfare and Social Services rebuffed Latet’s criticism citing Israel’s $50 million annual contribution towards food security intended to “eradicate the shameful phenomenon of queues for food [8].”

  • 75% of Israelis deem poverty a bigger issue for Israel than terrorism [9].

Conversation Points:

  • Do government agencies and NGO’s have self-serving agendas that may embolden them to inflate or deflate poverty levels?

  • Is Israel’s poverty crisis sufficiently covered in domestic and international Jewish media?

Burger King releases donut burger for Hanukkah

Navit Zomer, Ynet News, December 6th 2016

Recap:

Israeli Burger King’s will serve donut burgers in honor of Hanukkah. The SufganiKing will sell for $4.

The Context:

  • Tradition calls for oily and fried foods to be served on Hanukkah to commemorate the Jewish victory over Greek occupation of Jerusalem and the single jug of oil that miraculously lit the menorah for eight nights.

  • The SufganiKing is a normal Whopper hamburger but with donuts in place of buns. Ketchup will replace the typical jelly filling.

  • This week, Israel’s health minister called on the public to “avoid eating sufganiyot, [10]” this holiday season out of health considerations. There is no word on how many calories the festive treat will contain [11].

  • Israeli Burger King employees have already sampled the SufganiKing and say it is delicious.

Conversation Points:

  • Might Ostrovitzky’s and Dougies consider teaming up for a Brooklyn version of the SufganiKing this holiday season?

Notes:

  1. Moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem 'Very Big Priority' for Trump, Senior Adviser Says, Barak Ravid, Haaretz, December 12th 2016

  2. Conway: Moving U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem 'big priority' for Trump, Brent Griffiths, Politico, December 12th 2016

  3. Palestine’s UN envoy to make life “miserable” for Trump if US moves its Embassy to Jerusalem, Al Libnan, December 13th 2016

  4. Trump’s team already exploring logistics of moving embassy to Jerusalem — report, Tamar Pileggi, Times of Israel, December 12th 2016

  5. Ibid.

  6. Report shows 2.4 million civilians in Israel live in poverty, i24news, December 12th 2016

  7. Alternative poverty report: Almost a third of Israelis are poor, Omri Efraim, Ynetnews, December 12th 2016

  8. Alternative poverty report: Almost a third of Israelis are poor, Omri Efraim, Ynetnews, December 12th 2016

  9. ‘Alternative’ Poverty Report Slams Gov’t on Policy, Statistics, Dror Halavy, Hamodia, December 12th 2016

  10. Cut out traditional Hanukkah doughnuts, health minister tells Israelis, JTA.org, December 12th 2016

  11. Burger King serves up Hanukkah donut Whopper, Times of Israel, December 6th 2016


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