TIME Israel

Israel Rules Heinz Isn’t Ketchup

It is "tomato seasoning"

In America, “Heinz” is practically synonymous with “ketchup.” But that won’t be true in Israel—at least, not in Hebrew. The country’s Health Ministry says that the company can no longer call its tomato product “ketchup” on Hebrew labels because it does not contain enough tomato paste.

The decision came after protest by a local competitor, food manufacturer Osem, who complained about the low amount of actual tomato product in the condiment, according to Haaretz. The ministry ruled that Heinz must be labeled as “tomato seasoning” in Hebrew text, though English-language labels may still use “ketchup.”

The local importer of Heinz is petitioning to have the definition of “ketchup” changed to include the iconic product. Haaretz reports the ministry is working with the importer to change the requirement from 10% tomato solids to 6%.

Only time will tell if the regulatory change will move faster than Heinz sliding out of a glass bottle.

[Haaretz]

TIME Israel

Palestinian Hunger Striker Has Ended His Fast, Lawyer Says

Mohammed Allan went on hunger strike two months ago in protest at his detention

(JERUSALEM) — A lawyer for a Palestinian detainee on hunger strike says his client has ended his protest fast, a day after Israel’s top court suspended his detention.

Lawyer Jamil Khatib said Mohammed Allan ended his strike on Thursday.

Israel’s Supreme Court on Wednesday suspended a detention order against Allan, who launched the hunger strike more than two months ago to protest his detention.

Israeli doctor Hezy Levy earlier in the day said Allan was showing “great improvement” and that he was taken off the respirator.

Israel says Allan is a member of the Islamic Jihad militant group. He denies the allegation.

TIME Israel

Israel Suspends Detention of Palestinian Hunger Striker

Mohammed Allan will be released while he receives medical care

(JERUSALEM) — Israel’s Supreme Court has suspended the detention order of a hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner, releasing him while he receives medical care.

After a long day of deliberations, the court announced late Wednesday that Mohammed Allan, on a hunger strike for 65 days, will remain hospitalized but his shackles will be removed and his family can visit him.

It also said his “administrative detention” is suspended.

Allan went on a hunger strike to protest the measure that allows authorities to hold suspects for months without charge.

The court said Allan, who has suffered brain damage, will remain hospitalized but can petition for his release if his condition improves.

TIME Israel

Israeli Opposition Leader Fears Potential Palestinian Uprising

ISRAEL-VOTE-RESULTS-HERZOG
Jack Guez—AFP/Getty Images Isaac Herzog listens during a joint press conference at the party headquarters in Tel Aviv on March 18, 2015.

Hundreds of people attended a funeral of a Palestinian man killed by Israeli forces, creating tensions for a new uprising

(RAMALLAH, West Bank) — Israel’s opposition leader is calling on the government to work with the Palestinian Authority to prevent what he says could be a third Palestinian uprising.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog issued his call Tuesday after a rare meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at his West Bank headquarters.

The meeting came at a time of rising violence. Hundreds of people attended a West Bank funeral Tuesday of a Palestinian man killed by Israeli forces after stabbing an Israeli police officer. The tensions have raised fears of a new uprising.

Herzog says that “first and foremost” the sides must work together to prevent further violence. He also said peace efforts must resume.

Peace talks broke down more than a year ago and show no signs of resuming.

TIME West Bank

Israeli Forces Kill Palestinian Attacker in West Bank

17 Aug 2015, Nablus, West Bank --- (150816) -- NABLUS, Aug. 16, 2015 (Xinhua) -- Relatives of Palestinian Ahmad Rafiq Taj, who was shot dead by Israeli forces after stabbing an Israeli border policeman, mourn during his funeral in Tubas village near the West Bank city of Nablus, on Aug. 16, 2015. Israeli soldiers opened fire and killed on Saturday a Palestinian young man at an Israeli army checkpoint near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, eyewitnesses and medics said. (Xinhua/Ayman Nobani) --- Image by © Ayman Nobani/Xinhua Press/Corbis
Ayman Nobani—Xinhua Press/Corbis Relatives of Palestinian Ahmad Rafiq Taj, who was shot dead by Israeli forces after stabbing an Israeli border policeman, mourn during his funeral in Tubas village near the West Bank city of Nablus, on Aug. 16, 2015.

Tensions have been high since the July arson attack against a Palestinian West Bank home

JERUSALEM — Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian attacker after he stabbed an Israeli police officer at a West Bank checkpoint on Monday, the police and the military said.

According to Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri, the attacker approached the checkpoint, telling border police officers there that he felt unwell. As he got closer, he pulled out a knife and stabbed one of the officers, who was slightly wounded. Another officer then fatally shot the attacker, Samri said.

The attack was the third stabbing since Saturday, when two Palestinians were shot, one fatally, after they attacked security forces in two separate incidents in the West Bank. A Palestinian assailant was also shot dead in another West Bank stabbing earlier this month.

Tensions have been high since the July arson attack against a Palestinian West Bank home, when an 18-month-old toddler was burned to death. The child’s father later died from wounds he suffered in the attack while his mother and 4-year-old brother were seriously wounded.

Palestinians and Israelis are also watching the fate of a Palestinian prisoner who has been on a hunger strike in protest of his detention without charge.

Israel’s Supreme Court is hearing a petition on Monday to free the prisoner, Mohammed Allan, on health grounds. On Friday, the 60th day of his hunger strike, Allan slipped into unconsciousness and is being treated in an Israeli hospital.

Israel says Allan is being held for his activities with the Islamic Jihad, a Palestinian militant group that has carried out numerous violent attacks against civilians.

Israel recently passed a law that allows a judge to sanction the force-feeding or administration of medical treatment to prisoners on hunger strike, if there is a threat to the inmate’s life. But it’s still unclear if the contentious procedure will be carried out in Allan’s case.

Israel says the law is needed to deter Palestinian detainees from hunger strikes to pressure Israel for their release or other demands. Israel fears the death of a prisoner on a hunger strike could trigger Palestinian unrest amid the stalled peace negotiations. Critics say force-feeding amounts to torture.

TIME Israel

Israel Cracks Down on Jewish Extremists

Mideast Israel Meir Ettinger extremism
Ariel Schalit—AP Meir Ettinger, head of a Jewish extremist group, appears in court in Nazareth Illit , Israel on Aug. 4, 2015.

The country arrested several West Bank settlers

(JERUSALEM) — Israel intensified its crackdown on Jewish extremists Sunday, imprisoning two high-profile ultranationalist Israelis for six months without charge and arresting additional suspects in West Bank settlement outposts, security authorities said.

The crackdown comes after a deadly July 31 firebomb attack on a Palestinian home in the West Bank that killed an 18-month-old boy and his father and severely wounded his mother and brother.

Authorities called the arson attack an act of “Jewish terrorism,” and Israel’s Security Cabinet approved the use of harsh measures to combat the trend, including administrative detention, which allows suspects to be held for lengthy periods without charge.

The measure has been mainly used against Palestinians suspected of involvement in militant groups, and rarely against Israelis.

Meir Ettinger, the grandson of the late U.S.-born ultranationalist Rabbi Meir Kahane, and Eviatar Slonim, another Jewish extremist, were placed under administrative detention Sunday for their suspected involvement in an extremist Jewish organization, the office of Israel’s defense minister said.

The two, who are in their early 20s, were arrested last week. Another suspected Jewish extremist, Mordechai Meyer, was placed under six-month administrative detention last week.

Israeli human rights activists who advocate on behalf of Palestinians, as well as lawyers for the Israeli suspects, criticized the use of administrative detention.

“It is carried out based on an administrative order only, without indictment or trial, and the detainee cannot defend himself against the allegations as the evidence is classified,” a statement by human rights group B’Tselem said.

“This measure is dangerous … for the entire legal system and for democracy,” added Aharon Rozeh, a lawyer for Ettinger and Slonim, who said his clients were innocent.

Israel’s Shin Bet security agency has accused Ettinger of leading an extremist Jewish movement that encouraged attacks on Palestinian property and Christian holy sites, including an arson attack on a well-known church near the Sea of Galilee in northern Israel that marks the New Testament story of the miracle of the loaves and fish.

In late July, Israel arrested five young Israelis in connection with the arson attack, including Meyer.

Israeli authorities also carried out arrest raids Sunday in two West Bank settlement outposts. Israeli police spokeswoman Luba Samri would not say whether the arrests were linked to the arson attack. The arrests, carried out by a nationalist crime unit, were connected to “a number of events that occurred recently” in the West Bank, she said.

Authorities said one of the raided outposts was Adei Ad, close to the Palestinian village of Duma, where the arson attack took place. In January, Jewish settlers near Adei Ad threw stones at U.S. consular vehicles carrying visiting American officials.

Authorities would not name the other outpost raided, but Israeli media identified it as Baladim. Both outposts — small, isolated Jewish settlements built without government authorization — are located in an area known for its hard-line settler population.

Meanwhile, the father of the Palestinian detainee on hunger strike, Naser Allan, said his 30-year-old son is in serious condition after 56 days without food. He said Mohammed was arrested in November 2014 and placed in administrative detention for two six-month periods.

Naser said his son, now a lawyer, previously had been imprisoned from 2006-2009 for alleged affiliation with the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad.

A contentious Israeli law passed last month permits the force-feeding of inmates on a life-threatening hunger strike. Allan’s father said that Israeli authorities are threatening to force-feed his son, who has refused medicine or vitamins, only drinking water.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli hospital where he is being held, and Israel’s prison services, did not return requests for comment.

Scores of Palestinian prisoners have used hunger strikes in recent years to highlight their detention without trial or charges.

Israel in the past has acceded to their demands and at times has released prisoners. In June, Israel released Khader Adnan, 36, a senior activist in Islamic Jihad, after he carried out a 55-day hunger strike to protest his detention.

Some 200 Palestinian prisoners over the last six days have launched open-ended hunger strikes in four Israeli jails to demand improvements in daily services, said to Issa Karake, Palestinian minister of prisoner affairs.

Karake said the prisoners’ demands included allowing the families of Gaza prisoners to visit, permitting access to satellite television stations, and ending the use of force and solitary confinement.

___

Associated Press writer Miriam Berger in Jerusalem contributed to this report.

TIME Israel

Israel Has Jailed a Jewish Extremist for Six Months Without Trial

Mideast Israel
Ariel Schalit—AP Head of a Jewish extremist group Meir Ettinger appears in court in Nazareth Illit , Israel, Aug. 4, 2015

The Defense Minister signed an order that jails extremist Mordechai Meyer

(JERUSALEM) — Israel has jailed a Jewish extremist for six months without charges or trial, expanding a crackdown against militant Jews and deploying a contentious measure typically used for Palestinians suspected of staging attacks.

This was the first time the measure, known as administrative detention, was applied against an Israeli since the crackdown began following a pair of deadly attacks last week.

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon signed an order late Tuesday that jailed extremist Mordechai Meyer, from the West Bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim, for six months.

A statement from Yaalon’s office said Meyer, 18, was being held in connection to “his involvement in violent activities and recent terror attacks.”

The ministry would not elaborate on the suspicions against him but Israel’s internal security agency Shin Bet said Meyer was among five people arrested in connection with the arson attack against an important church in northern Israel in June, although he was not indicted.

Meyer was also suspected of links to attacks against another church in Jerusalem, as well as attacks on Palestinian property, the agency said, adding that he had previously been banned from the West Bank and Jerusalem. The Shin Bet declined to comment on whether Meyer was connected to last week’s attack on a Palestinian home.

The detention intensifies a crackdown on Jewish militancy that came after two deadly attacks last week.

On Friday, suspected Jewish extremists torched a West Bank home, an arson attack in which a Palestinian toddler was burned to death and his parents and 4-year-old brother were seriously wounded. A day earlier, an anti-gay ultra-Orthodox man stabbed six people at Jerusalem’s Gay Pride parade, and one of them — a 16-year-old girl — later died of her wounds.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pledged “zero tolerance” for Jewish terrorism and Israel authorized a series of steps, including administrative detention, to help stamp out the trend.

On Tuesday, authorities also arrested Meir Ettinger, a high-profile activist accused of leading a new movement of defiant settler youths who embrace violence and reject the rule of law in the name of the purity of the Holy Land.

Ettinger, 23, was not being held under administrative detention but was arrested for “involvement in an extremist Jewish organization.” The Shin Bet security agency would not say if Ettinger is also suspected in the West Bank arson attack.

Administrative detention is typically used against Palestinians who can be held for months or even years without trial or charge. The measure is rarely applied against Israelis. Israel has defended the administrative detention of Palestinians as a necessary tool for preventing militant attacks.

Meyer’s lawyer, Adi Keidar, told Israeli Army Radio that there were “less drastic steps” Israel could use to pursue an investigation against his client. He said he opposed the measure, both for Israelis and Palestinians.

“Legally speaking, you can’t take a person and put him in jail, without having evidence against him,” Keidar said.

TIME Israel

Palestinian Child Killed in Suspected Jewish Settler Attack

Palestinian Baby Dies In Arson Attack
Oren Ziv—Getty Images Family members and relatives of 18 month old baby, Ali Saad-Dawabsheh, view the remains of their house after a fire which was suspected to have been set by Jewish extremists on July 31, in the Palestinian village of Duma, West Bank.

Jewish extremists have for years attacked Palestinian property

(DUMA, West Bank) — Suspected Jewish assailants attacked a Palestinian village in the West Bank early Friday and torched two homes, killing a young child and critically wounding at least three people, Israeli and Palestinian officials said. The Israeli prime minister called the incident a “terror attack.”

According to the military, the suspects entered the village of Duma, near the city of Nablus, where they set the homes ablaze and scrawled graffiti, including “Long live the Messiah,” ”revenge” and “price tag.”

The attackers threw Molotov cocktails, or fire bombs, at the houses, the military said.

The slain child was identified as one-and-a-half year old Ali Dawabsheh. His four-year-old brother and parents were among the wounded, according to Gassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official from the Nablus area.

Daghlas said Jewish settlers broke the window of a house and flung a burning object inside, “causing a quick and huge fire.” He added that three people were wounded aside from the child. The Israeli military said three people were critically wounded and one was slightly injured. The critically wounded were taken to Israeli hospitals for treatment, the military said.

“Setters in the Nablus area are very aggressive. They never stop attacking Palestinians in their villages and the Israeli government needs to put an end to these aggressions,” Daghlas said.

The Israeli military said it sent troop reinforcements to the West Bank, fearing the incident could trigger unrest.

Jewish extremists have for years attacked Palestinian property, as well as mosques, churches and even Israeli military bases in opposition to what they see as the Israeli government’s favorable policies toward the Palestinians, although it is rare for anyone to be killed in such attacks.

Critics say police have been slow to apprehend the assailants and Palestinians say the military has failed to protect them from attacks by militant Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

The attacks, known as “price tag,” have been condemned across the Israeli political spectrum and condemnations came swiftly Friday, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issuing a stern statement against the violence.

“I am shocked over this reprehensible and horrific act. This is an act of terrorism in every respect. The State of Israel takes a strong line against terrorism regardless of who the perpetrators are,” he said.

Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner called the incident “nothing short of a barbaric act of terrorism.”

Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Yaalon said Israel would not allow “Jewish terrorists” to carry out such acts.

“We will not allow Jewish terrorists to harm the lives of Palestinians in Judea and Samaria,” he said in a statement, referring to the West Bank by its biblical name. “We will fight against them firmly and with all means and tools at our disposal.”

Meanwhile, Israeli police said they would restrict entrance to Friday prayers at a Jerusalem mosque to male worshippers over the age of 50. Police said the decision was not necessarily related to the West Bank incident and comes as police received word that Palestinian youth at the mosque planned to cause disturbances.

___

Daraghmeh reported from Ramallah. Associated Press writer Tia Goldenberg contributed to this report from Tel Aviv, Israel.

TIME Israel

Jewish Man Stabs 6 People at Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade

Ultra Orthodox Jew Yishai Schlissel is detained by plain-clothes police officers after he stabbed people during a gay pride parade in Jerusalem on July 30, 2015.
Sebastian Scheiner—AP Ultra Orthodox Jew Yishai Schlissel is detained by plain-clothes police officers after he stabbed people during a gay pride parade in Jerusalem on July 30, 2015.

The alleged attacker was jailed for stabbing people at a 2005 pride parade

(JERUSALEM) — An ultra-Orthodox Jewish man lunged into a group of revelers leading Jerusalem’s annual gay pride parade and stabbed six of them Thursday evening as they marched in the holy city, Israeli police and witnesses said.

The alleged attacker, Yishai Schlissel, had recently been released from prison after serving a term for stabbing several people at a gay pride parade in 2005, police spokeswoman Luba Samri said, adding that he was arrested at the scene of Thursday’s attack.

Eli Bin of Israel’s emergency service said six young people were wounded in the attack, two of them seriously.

The annual parade was proceeding as planned when the crowd’s joyful chants gave way to screams. Panic ensued, and a bloody woman fell to the ground, an Associated Press photographer at the scene said.

A man with blood seeping from his back wandered around with a dazed look before collapsing. Another man with his shirt off also had blood dripping down his back. Medics quickly surrounded them both and applied pressure to stop the bleeding.

Shocked revelers, some in tears, gathered along the sidewalk as ambulances and police on horses quickly arrived on the scene.

Schlissel was convicted of a similar attack that wounded several people at a gay pride parade in Jerusalem a decade ago. Media reports said that on Thursday he hid in a nearby supermarket and jumped out to attack the march when it passed nearby.

Jerusalem police spokesman Asi Ahroni said there was a “massive presence” of police securing the parade but “unfortunately the man managed to pull out a knife and attack.”

A medic that treated the wounded at the scene, Hanoch Zelinger, said one woman was stabbed in the back, chest and neck, and was lying unconscious on the ground.

Shaarei Tzedek hospital said it was treating a man with stab wounds who was in serious condition and a woman in critical condition, both in their 20s.

The parade continued after the wounded were taken for treatment, but in a more somber atmosphere. Media reported that thousands of Jerusalem residents who had not participated in the parade joined in after the attack in solidarity.

“I do think that homophobia is rooted in the city, but that’s the point of the parade,” said Benny Zupick, 21, shortly after the attack. “We are trying to change that. And hopefully we will change that. It takes one man to create a scene like this. Hopefully he’s a minority.”

A majority of Jerusalem’s residents are either observant Jews or Muslim or Christian Palestinians, conservative communities that oppose homosexuality. Previous parades have drawn opposition.

The heads of Israel’s ultra-Orthodox parties, along with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon and others across the Israeli political spectrum condemned the attack.

“People celebrating their freedom and expressing their identity were viciously stabbed. We must not be deluded, a lack of tolerance will lead us to disaster. We cannot allow such crimes, and we must condemn those who commit and support them,” President Reuven Rivlin said.

Jerusalem’s annual parade is smaller and more restrained than the annual gay pride march in Tel Aviv, which was attended by some 100,000 revelers last month.

Tel Aviv has emerged as one of the world’s most gay-friendly travel destinations recently, in sharp contrast to most of the rest of the Middle East, where gays are persecuted or even killed.

Gays serve openly in Israel’s military and parliament, and many popular artists and entertainers are gay, but gays still face hostility among religious Jews.

TIME Israel

Israeli Bulldozers Begin Demolishing West Bank Settlement

Israeli military bulldozers demolish the Dreinoff buildings under an Israeli High Court ruling, in Beit El, north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on July 29, 2015.
Mahmoud illean—Demotix/Corbis Israeli military bulldozers demolish the Dreinoff buildings under an Israeli High Court ruling, in Beit El, north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on July 29, 2015.

The move is likely to draw international rebuke

(JERUSALEM) — Israeli bulldozers began demolishing a contested housing complex in a West Bank settlement on Wednesday as the prime minister’s office announced the “immediate construction” of some 300 new units at another location in the same settlement and advanced plans for about 500 new units in east Jerusalem.

The move, which is likely to draw international rebuke, comes amid a standoff in the Beit El settlement, to the north of Jerusalem in the West Bank.

The standoff escalated sharply Wednesday, after the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a petition to overturn its initial ruling to demolish a complex in Beit El and ordered the destruction completed no later than Thursday. The complex was deemed illegal because it was under construction without prior Israeli authorization.

The military moved in and removed protesters holed up inside, but hundreds of Jewish settlers gathered at the scene and some fought with Israeli forces, who responded by firing water cannons at the protesters.

Tempers are high among some in the settler community as it marks a decade since Israel’s “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip, when Israel in the summer of 2005 withdrew all its civilians and soldiers from all of the settlements there and also from two in the West Bank.

Israel initially promised to build the 300 housing units in Beit El three years ago, when it ordered the removal of other buildings constructed on private Palestinian land.

The new units announced by Benjamin Netanyahu’s office are both in Beit El and elsewhere, including areas in east Jerusalem, which Israeli leaders say are inseparable neighborhoods of Jerusalem.

They say these neighborhoods will remain a part of Israel under any future peace agreement, but the Palestinians consider them settlements and say construction there is illegal, a position backed by the international community.

In Washington, the U.S. State Department said it was deeply concerned by the new settlement activity and urged “the Israeli government to refrain from unhelpful actions that undercut possibility of a two-state solution.”

“The United States continues to view settlements as illegitimate and we strongly oppose steps to advance construction in the West Bank and East Jerusalem,” Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said in a statement.

At the United Nations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the announcement of the construction of the new units, “as well as the planning and construction of nearly 500 housing units in a number of settlements in East Jerusalem,” his spokesman’s office said. Ban urged Israel’s government to halt and reverse such decisions “in the interest of peace and a just final status agreement.”

Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem in 1967, and annexed east Jerusalem in a move that is not recognized internationally.

Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett, head of a pro-settler party, welcomed the announcement of the new units even as he criticized the top court’s decision.

“The court’s role is to judge; the government’s role is to build,” he said in a written statement. “We will build up the land of Israel, but in a legal and appropriate way.”

But Lior Amichai of Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now criticized the announcement, saying it was intended to “appease the settlers.”

Also Wednesday, Israel’s Shin Bet security agency and the Israeli police said they filed indictments against two young Israeli activists in connection with last month’s arson attack of the Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and Fish, a famous Catholic church near the Sea of Galilee. Three additional activists are under arrest in connection with the arson attack.

The Shin Bet and police said the activists were part of an extremist group of Israeli settler youth seeking to bring about religious “redemption.” The group vandalized a number of Christian religious sites in the past two years, tried to disrupt Pope Benedict XVI’s 2014 visit to the Holy Land, and in the past year committed “more significant terrorist attacks of arson” against Palestinian homes in the West Bank, according to the Shin Bet and Israeli police.

A month before the attack on the church, the head of the extremist group, Meir Ettinger, called on his blog for more attacks on Christian religious sites, Israeli authorities said. Israeli authorities have banned him from the West Bank settlements and from Jerusalem for a year.

___

Associated Press writer Cara Anna at the United Nations contributed to this report.

 

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