This past week, US Vice President Joe Biden was in Israel discussing, among other things, a new defense package that Israel hopes will reach $50 billion over a decade. You can find out more about the trip in the last episode of the Podcast
On Sunday, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon flew to Washington to continue talks. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu canceled his own trip to Washington, where he was expected to speak at AIPAC’s policy conference and meet with US President Barack Obama.
During Biden’s trip, a series of terror stabbing attacks took place and resulted in the death of an American tourist, 29-year-old Taylor Force.
Over the weekend, Hamas fired missiles into Israel, which landed in open fields and caused no casualties. In response, the Israeli Air Force targeted four Hamas training camps in Gaza. Fragments from one of the missiles killed a 10-year-old Palestinian boy. According to Israeli media, the security establishment does not believe Hamas is seeking an escalation at the moment.
On Saturday night, Netanyahu called on the five permanent UN Security Council Members plus Germany to punish Iran for recent ballistic missile tests. Israel says the tests violate the nuclear agreement between Iran and the six powers. The US condemned Iran and said it will bring up the missile launches, which it called “dangerous,” in the Security Council this week.
In religious affairs, Netanyahu faced a potential coalition crisis over the Western Wall. His ultra-Orthodox coalition partners informed him that they would quit the government if it enacts measures that seem to give official state recognition of Reform and Conservative Judaism. The protest is the latest response to plans to create a more pluralistic prayer area at the Western Wall.
In the US election, Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders spoke up about his Jewish heritage, saying it was an essential part of his identity. Sanders talked about how his father’s family was wiped out by the Holocaust. In a seeming dig at Republican frontrunner Donald Trump, Sanders warned against “crazy and radical, and extremist politics.”
His rival in the Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton, reiterated her opposition to the prospect of a UN Security Council resolution setting guidelines for Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking. The Obama administration is said to be mulling such an option. Last week, after a meeting between Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat and US Secretary of State John Kerry, Erekat said that Kerry vowed to veto any resolution on Israeli settlements or Palestinian statehood.
And finally, a man Hitler tried to kill in the Holocaust has become the oldest person in the world. The Guinness Book of World Records recognized 112-year-old Haifa resident Yisrael Kristal as the oldest person alive. Kristal, who was born in Poland and made Aliya in 1950, survived Auschwitz.