State prosecutors informed Israel's Magistrate’s Court that they intend to indict the prime suspect in the deadly October stoning of a Palestinian woman. A Justice Ministry official says that the state is planning to charge the suspect with manslaughter, a crime whose maximum sentence is 20 years. The prime suspect’s father released a statement, alongside statements of support from other far right-wing activists and some lawmakers, asserting that his son was innocent and that the Shin Bet was using violence to interrogate him.
Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit indicated that he will not rule out making a decision on whether to bring corruption charges against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the April 9 elections. A letter sent to the prime minister by a senior aide to the AG said that "the work ... which began before the decision was taken to bring forward the elections, will continue as scheduled." Netanyahu faces corruption charges in three cases.
The Jewish National Fund said it is freezing all of its projects constructing security infrastructure in the Israeli communities along the Gaza border, amid a dispute with the Finance Ministry. Several months ago, the JNF had announced its decision to invest NIS 100 million in security infrastructure in the Israeli communities near the Strip. In a statement, the Finance Ministry said, "The ministry is in a dialogue with JNF officials in order to create a professional process.... We hope understandings could be reached soon."
Israel has informed other nations it will no longer allow the operation of honorary consulates in the capital, in a step, made public only on Thursday, apparently intended to pressure governments to open embassies or other diplomatic missions in Jerusalem. In November, Israel’s Foreign Ministry had sent a formal letter to all governments with which Israel maintains diplomatic relations, notifying them that honorary consulates would no longer be permitted in the capital.
An art exhibit featuring a crucified Ronald McDonald has sparked protests by Israel's Arab Christian minority. Hundreds of Christians calling for the removal of the sculpture, entitled "McJesus," demonstrated at the museum in the northern city of Haifa last week. Israeli police say rioters hurled a firebomb at the museum and threw stones that wounded three police officers. Authorities dispersed the crowds with tear gas and stun grenades. Museum director Nissim Tal said that he was shocked at the sudden uproar, especially because the exhibit had been on display for months. It has been shown in other countries without incident.
The United States Army has asked Congress for $373 million to buy two batteries of the Israeli-made Iron Dome missiles defense system. While Israel has sold the US technological systems in recent decades, this would be the first time Jerusalem sells Washington a full weapons system. "The Iron Dome system provides the best value to the Army based on its schedule, cost per kill, magazine depth, and capability against specified threats," Army acquisition executive Bruce Jette wrote in his report to Congress.
Jackie Congedo, Director, JCRC
Shep Englander, CEO, Jewish Federation of Cincinnati
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