Israel Briefs: Israel Specialist Treated Abbas

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PA Chief Treated Last Year by Israeli Specialist

An Israeli doctor sent to Ramallah last year helped save the life of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, ynetnews.com reported.

Abbas, 83, was hospitalized in May with pneumonia and Israel offered to treat him at an Israeli hospital. The PA declined, fearing a Palestinian backlash, the website reported, so Israel instead sent a specialist to Ramallah. Abbas was discharged from a hospital there a week later.

Abbas has since returned to work and quit smoking.

PA Releases Man Who Sold Land to Jews

The Palestinian Authority released Palestinian-American Issam Akel to U.S. authorities one month after he was sentenced to life in prison for selling land to Israelis, JNS.org reported.

“Issam Akel holds an American passport, and he was handed over to the U.S. authorities upon their request,” one unnamed senior security official told Reuters on Jan. 20.

Akel, 55, sold an Arab-owned home in Jerusalem to the Ateret Cohanim organization. That group has been buying properties in the Old City’s Muslim quarter and in strategic places around Jerusalem’s Holy Basin area.

Etgar Keret Wins Sapir Prize

Author Etgar Keret was named the winner of Israel’s most prestigious literary award — the Sapir Prize, JTA reported.

Keret was honored for A Glitch at the Edge of the Galaxy, a collection of 24 short stories.

“It’s the happiest thing in the world, but like love or gifts, it’s not something you can strive for. It just happens,” Keret said in a statement from Ben-Gurion University, where he is a lecturer.

Keret will receive a cash prize of more than $40,000, as well as support to translate his book into Arabic and a language of his choice.

The winner of the 2016 Charles Bronfman Prize for humanitarians under 50, Keret’s literary output includes short story collections, movie scripts, poetry, plays and comics.

Israel Ranks as Fifth Most Innovative Nation

The 2019 Bloomberg Innovation Index ranked Israel as the world’s fifth-most innovative nation, JTA reported.

Israel moved up from 10th place a year ago. The United States ranked eighth after being 11th a year ago.

The top four countries were South Korea, Germany, Finland and Switzerland.

The index reviews criteria via seven metrics. Those include research and development spending, manufacturing capability and concentration of high-tech public companies.

Israel placed first in the R&D intensity category and second (after being first a year ago) in research concentration.

Japan Arrests Two Israeli Citizens Smuggling Gold

Japanese police arrested two Israeli citizens on Jan. 23 on suspicion of smuggling gold bars into the country, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Police seized 420 kilograms of gold bars worth about $17.3 million.

Reuven Rosen, 58, has pleaded guilty, while David Cohen, 55, is denying many of the charges, according to ynetnews.com.

Police believe Rosen and Cohen are part of a ring that has smuggled four tons of gold bars into Japan since 2017, often under the guise of importing auto parts.

Rosen and Cohen are recognized residents of Japan and have Japanese wives. l