Israel Briefs: Netanyahu Pushes for Absentee Balloting for Israelis Living Abroad and More

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Netanyahu Pushes for Absentee Balloting for Israelis Living Abroad

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu supports measures to allow Israelis abroad to vote via absentee balloting, Likud Minister Israel Katz told The Jerusalem Post.

Katz — who previously was appointed by Netanyahu to lead a ministerial panel on the issue — said the prime minister told him now is the time to move on the subject. Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog endorsed the idea recently at the Israeli-American Council national conference in Florida.

“In a mobile world, where people work and relocate and study, it’s about time for Israel to look differently at Israelis who are abroad, so Israelis abroad should be eligible to vote in Israeli elections,” Herzog said.

Degree of Decline in Birthright Trips Disputed

Although Haaretz reported that Birthright Israel’s 2019 winter trips to Israel are declining 20-50 percent, a spokeswoman from the organization said the dip is only 7-10 percent, The Times of Israel reported.

Haaretz projected the drop after speaking with five of the 11 North American trip providers, but did not name the providers.

The Times of Israel spoke with the largest provider, Hillel International, which rejected the premise of a big decline.

“Hillel International is pleased that our Birthright Israel recruitment remains steady since last winter, with nearly the same number of participants and buses as a year ago,” Vice President of Communications Matthew Berger said.

Birthright CEO Gidi Mark disputed the Haaretz story, too.

“In sharp contradiction to the recent misleading report — in 2018, we expect to have a record of over 48,000 participants … our largest yearly participant number since inception,” Mark said.

Manhunt Leads to Death of Palestinian Who Killed Two Israelis in October

Israel Defense Forces troops concluded a two-month manhunt on Dec. 13 by finding and killing a Palestinian accused of murdering two Israelis parents in October, JNS.org reported.

Ashraf Na’alowa was armed when troops arrived to arrest him.

Relatives and accomplices apparently assisted Na’alowa, 23, in hiding. The manhunt was a joint operation between Israel’s Shin Bet security services, IDF forces and Israeli police.

Na’alowa worked at the same West Bank industrial park as his victims, Kim Levengrond-Yehezkel and Ziv Hajbi. The IDF said Na’alowa’s father had been aware for weeks of his son’s plans, and the Shin Bet said Na’alowa was planning to conduct another attack as well.

Video with Diverse Group of Children Pays Tribute to Late Reggae Legend Bob Marley

In advance of Israel’s One Love Festival, a video featuring a variety of children was produced to recognize late reggae legend Bob Marley, the Algemeiner reported.

The 2019 promotional clip for the festival includes children from a Jewish kibbutz, an Arab school, a nursery in Herzliya, members of a gospel group composed of Israelis from Eritrea and Sudan, and members of the Breslov Chasidic sect. They sing “One Love,” a Marley song about universal love and unity.

Video producer Bella Malkin said the non-Israeli children were excited about the project. “They knew they were filming an Israeli clip that would be broadcast on YouTube to the whole world, and they were very enthusiastic about this idea and the possibility of sending a message of peace from Gaza.” l