Vote for the biggest Israeli news event of 2010

A year in review: Mabhouh hit in Dubai, Gaza flotilla raid, Emmanuel girls' school affair, rabbis' call not to rent to non-Jews, Carmel fires.

December 20, 2010 18:11
4 minute read.
Israeli flags fly

Israeli flags 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

The year 2010 brought many major news events in Israel and the Middle East, and across the globe. This year, we're asking Jpost readers to vote for the biggest news events of 2010, for our special end-of-year summary. Vote now for the Israel category:

Dubai hit of Hamas arch-terrorist Mabhouh

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The January assassination of top Hamas operative Ali Mahmoud Mabhouh featured heavily in international headlines in 2010. A co-founder of Hamas’s military wing, Izzadin Kassam, Mabhouh was the group’s senior operative in charge of smuggling weaponry from Iran, Syria and Lebanon to the Gaza Strip.

During the aftermath of the Dubai hit, in which Israel was implicated as the culprit, so-called Mossad agent Uri Brodsky was arrested in Warsaw for allegedly assisting in the assassination.

A total of 27 suspects were identified, and authorities continue to look into passports from Australia, Britain France, New Zealand and Germany. The uproar in the international community was fierce as it became apparent that foreign passports had been used in connection with the hit.

'Mavi Marmara' flotilla raid

The May 31 interception of a Gaza-bound aid flotilla which resulted in the deaths of nine Turks also dominated world headlines during 2010, and severely affected Ankara-Jerusalem diplomatic relations. Seven Shayetet 13 commandos were injured in the raid. Protests erupted around the world against Israel's actions, and the United Nations condemned "those acts which resulted in the loss of lives."

Some two weeks after the raid, Israel announced a loosening of the blockade on the Gaza Strip, though the international response was cool.

As a result of the operation, Israel established the Turkel Commission, to look into the the legality of the flotilla raid, as well as Israel's naval blockade of the Strip. The UN has also set up investigative and fact-finding committees.

The Emmanuel girls' school affair

On June 28, 2010, the High Court of Justice made its ruling on Yoav Laloum's petition against the Education Ministry over racial discrimination at haredi schools, almost two years after the complaint was filed. According to the agreement, which was proposed by Shas spiritual mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and the Rebbe of Slonim, all the girls studying in the four elementary schools in Emmanuel would come together at the Beit Ya’acov school that was the subject of the petition, for three days of lectures encouraging “solidarity and love for the Jewish people.”

In its ruling, the court released from jail 35 fathers of girls enrolled in Emmanuel’s Beit Ya’acov primary school, who had been held in contempt after refusing to return their daughters to the unsegregated school.

The agreement pointedly made clear that the Sephardi and Ashkenazi girls would be in the same study halls, though in September 2010, the court approved the Education Ministry’s proposal from last month that children of the “hassidic stream” who were enrolled in the school last year be allowed to study in a separate school meant to preserve the religious strictures observed by their parents.

The fatal Carmel Mountain fires

The Carmel Mountain forest fires which erupted on December 2, 2010, shocked the nation, claiming 44 lives as countries around the world rallied to send firefighters, planes and equipment to assist in efforts to control the blazes. The Evergreen 'Super Tanker,' the only firefighting plane able to operate at night, was rented from the US, and countries including Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, Bulgaria, Greece and the Palestinian Authority answered Israel's calls for help.

After weeks of finger-pointing, the Prime Minister's Office has asked State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss to conduct an investigation into the incidents surrounding the blaze.

Rabbis' call not to rent to non-Jews

In a move slammed by Israeli leaders, international rabbis and Jewish groups alike, 50 municipal rabbis signed a call not to rent apartments to non-Jews on December 7, 2010. Amongst the reasons given for the prohibition are the danger of intermarriage and the lowering of real estate prices in areas where non-Jews live. Gentiles' "different lifestyle from Jews" can endanger lives, they wrote.

In response Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said that the Torah teaches to "love the stranger," and President Shimon Peres said that the rabbis were generating a moral crisis that ran counter to the essence of a Jewish and democratic state.

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