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Israeli Hotels Suffer 25% Decrease in Tourist Business

( Not only the wounded and grieving continue to feel the effects of Operation Protective Edge one year later: according to figures published by the Israel Hotel Association, the tourism industry also has yet to recover.

The drop in foreign traffic began in July 2014 and continued into 2015 with a 25 percent drop in tourists staying in hotels during the first half of 2015 when compared to the same period in 2014.

According to the figures, 4.1 million tourists staying in Israel’s hotels from January to July 2015, but it was Israelis who saved the industry with 5.9 million paying for vacation stays in hotels, an increase of eight percent.

Despite the slight increase in business from locals however, hotels remained at just 59 percent capacity during the first half of 2015.

But statistics show that the hotel industry in Israel is suffering from more than the effects of 2014’s war in Gaza. Alternative travel arrangements like short term apartment and room rentals through businesses like Airbnb are taking larger and larger chunks of the industry’s profits.

Israel’s southern tourist destination of Eilat has felt the fallout of a stumbling tourist industry more than any other city. Eilat usually enjoys the presence of European tourists who come to enjoy the Red Sea resorts and attractions, but these numbers also dropped dramatically, in part due to economic hardship in Russia that led many to cancel their vacation plans.

Noaz Bar Nir, head of the Israel Hotel Association, said that the decrease in business has amounted to a loss of 2.7 million hotel room orders or NIS 1.2 billion.

“This crisis is long and deep like we haven’t experienced for a decade,” said Bar Nir. “These figures demand an immediate increase in funds for tourism promotion to Israel. Otherwise we will find ourselves immersed in the same crises without any hope.”

Israeli Archeologists Find Evidence of 23,000 Year Old Cultivation

( Israeli archeologists have found evidence indicating hunter-gatherers made a small-scale attempt to cultivate wild cereals 11,000 years before the onset of agriculture.

The 23,000-years-old prehistoric site of Ohalo II on the shores of Lake Kinneret was discovered in 1989 when a severe drought caused a significant decline in the level of Lake Kinneret. Since, several archeological digs in the area found huts, a gravesite, a large collection of animal remains, edible plants and flints.

According to Prof. Ehud Weiss, the head of the Archaeological Botany lab at the Department of Land of Israel Studies and Archaeology at Bar-Ilan University, the findings at the site are exceptionally well preserved because they were burned, charred and sealed by the sedimentation of silts sealed in the low-oxygen conditions under the waters of the Kinneret.

The Ohalo II prehistoric site, which over the years has become synonymous with characteristics of the hunter-gatherers, allows researchers to study the way cereals were sown, reaped and used. Researchers found the remains of 150,000 plants, including edible grains such as wild wheat, barley and oat. Remains of starch found on a grindstone at the site shows that bread was baked there.

Netanyahu Vows to Bring Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade Stabber to Justice

( Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to bring to justice the attacker who stabbed six people at the Jerusalem gay pride parade on Thursday.

“Justice will be dealt to whoever was responsible for this act,” Netanyahu said. “In the State of Israel, an individual’s freedom of choice is one of the country’s most basic values.”

“It is up to us to make sure that every man and woman can live in safety at all times in every way that they choose to live,” he added.

The parade stabbings by haredi man Yishai Shlissel seriously wounded two people. On Sunday, 16-year-old stabbing victim Shira Banki died of her wounds. Shlissel was wrestled to the ground and arrested. Police confirmed he was the same man who stabbed three people at a Jerusalem gay pride parade in 2005 and was released just weeks ago for that crime.

Wildfire Burns 74 Acres Near Jerusalem

( Dozens of firefighting teams rushed to the hills surrounding Jerusalem on Sunday afternoon as a wildfire broke out near Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital and the community of Even Sapir. Due to the hot, dry weather, firefighters feared the blaze would reach both the hospital and Even Sapir, and evacuated residents from the community. Some damage was caused to houses in the area. Over the course of the day, a total of 69 firefighting teams—including 160 staff and volunteers, five Jewish National Fund teams, five Israeli Air Force teams, and 13 firefighting planes—became involved in the efforts to put out the fire. A total of 74 acres were burned. Some of the houses affected contained asbestos, prompting warnings for nearby residents to remain indoors to avoid potentially toxic air pollution.

Temple Mount Sheikh: Jewish Doctors Create Diseases, Control Pharma Industry

( Sheikh Khaled Al-Mughrabi, a teacher of Islam at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount, claimed that Jewish doctors manufacture diseases in labs and almost completely own the global pharmaceutical industry. “They own about 95 percent of the world’s pharmaceutical industry,” Al-Mughrabi said in his most recent class, Palestinian Media Watch reported Sunday, citing a July 31 post on the Al-Msjed Al-Aqsa YouTube channel. “Why do I mention the pharmaceutical industry? Many diseases were created in labs—viruses created by doctors who were bought, trained and taught by the Rothschild family, the Freemasons, the Zionists or the Jews to create and spread disease so they will be able to sell medicine for it. More than 95 percent of the pharmaceutical industry and the pharmaceutical trade is owned by the children of Israel.”

Canada to Purchase Technology From Israel’s Iron Dome Anti-Missile System

( Canada has announced a deal to purchase radar technology used in Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. “Much like Israel’s successful Iron Dome radar technology, the Medium Range Radar system will be able to instantly track enemy fire aimed at Canadian armed forces personnel and help keep them safe during operations,” Canadian Defense Minister Jason Kenney said, AFP reported. The radars will be manufactured by Rheinmetall’s Canadian branch with support from ELTA Systems, a subsidiary of Israel Aerospace Industries.

“Together with our partners in Rheinmetall-Canada, we will provide the most sophisticated C-RAM, air-surveillance and radar available, with a significant portion of the production to be performed locally in Canada,” ELTA President Nissim Hadas said. The US-funded Iron Dome system reportedly had a 90-percent interception rate for projectiles fired at Israel during last summer’s Gaza war.

Ivory Coast Seeks to Learn From Israel How to Fight Terrorism

( The president of Ivory Coast’s National Assembly legislature, Guillaume Kigbafori Soro, said his country wants to learn from Israel how to fight terrorism. “The so called ‘Arab Spring’ was started by young people, and in Africa unemployed young people are the infrastructure for terrorist recruitment,” Soro, who led a delegation to the Jewish state from the West African nation, told Israeli President Reuven Rivlin. Soro said Ivory Coast will try to help Israel gain observer status in the African Union, the Jerusalem Post reported. The delegation visited the olive tree planted in Israel by Ivory Coast’s first president, Felix Houphouet-Boigny. He planted the tree in 1962, two years after Ivory Coast became independent, and donated a forest of 10,000 trees to Israel.

Iran Nuclear Deal Prompts Israel to Redeploy Iron Dome Along Northern Border

( Israel Defense Forces Col. Yoni Saada Marom, commander of Israel’s Active Defense Air Wing, said Israel has deployed the Iron Dome missile defense system to northern Israel amid fears that the Hezbollah terror group could get an infusion of cash from Iran following the recently reached nuclear deal. “Now we are dealing with the challenges and scenarios that we think the enemies from the north will bring. One of the scenarios could be that, like Hamas, they (Hezbollah) will try and challenge us with a variety of threats simultaneously—which is a great challenge—but we are developing our concepts of operation,” Marom said, Fox News reported. Israeli officials believe that Hezbollah may have up to 100,000 rockets in its arsenal, with several thousand capable of hitting Tel Aviv and even hundreds that can strike the entire country. The move also comes after suspected Israeli strikes on two separate terror targets in Syria earlier this week—reportedly major figures in Hezbollah and a pro-Syrian Palestinian terror group. According to Marom, more Iron Dome batteries are operational now than during last summer’s Gaza war, and more Israeli soldiers have been trained to operate the system.

Hamas Threatens Terror Attacks, ‘Day of Rage’ After Killing of Palestinian Toddler

( The Hamas terrorist group said that every Israeli is now a legitimate target in the wake of a terror attack that killed a Palestinian toddler. Hamas has also called for a “day of rage” in order to “protect the al-Aqsa Mosque,” the Jerusalem Post reported. Early on Friday, 18-month-old Palestinian boy Ali Dawabsha was killed and three members of his were family injured when a suspected Jewish extremist threw a Molotov cocktail into their home in the Palestinian village of Duma in the northern West Bank. Israeli leaders were swift to condemn the attack.

“I am shocked by this horrific, heinous act,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement. “This is a terror attack in every sense of the word. The State of Israel deals forcefully with terror, regardless of who the perpetrators are.” Netanyahu said that security forces will “use all the resources at their disposal to capture the killers and bring them to justice as soon as possible.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said the attack was a “most severe terrorist act that we cannot tolerate, and we condemn in every way.” Both Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin visited members of the Dawabsha family.

Archaeologists Uncover Remains of Lithuania’s Great Synagogue

( A team of Israeli and Lithuanian archaeologists uncovered the underground remains of the Great Synagogue of Vilna using ground-penetrating radar technology.

Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA) said, “The results of the ground-penetrating radar survey showed significant remains of the synagogue below the surface, including sections of the Great Synagogue and possible remnants of the miqva’ot (ritual baths).” The Great Synagogue was built in Renaissance-Baroque style in the 17th century on top of a site used for Jewish prayer dating back to the 15th century. Eventually, the synagogue became the center of a vibrant Jewish community. But the synagogue was burned by the Nazis during the Holocaust and was later completely demolished by the Soviets. Today, a school partially sits over the site. Excavation is planned for next year, with archaeologists hoping to uncover the remains and put them on display as a memorial for Vilna’s Jews.

Romania Bans Holocaust Denial, Fascist Symbols

( Romania’s president signed into law legislation that punishes Holocaust denial and the promotion of the fascist Legionnaires’ Movement with prison sentences of up to three years. President Klaus Iohannis signed the amendments to existing legislation, approved by Parliament last month, on Wednesday. The legislation also bans fascist, racist or xenophobic organizations and symbols, and promoting people guilty of crimes against humanity by up to three years in prison. Holocaust denial refers to refuting Romania’s role in exterminating Jews and Roma between 1940 and 1944. About 280,000 Jews and 11,000 Roma, or Gypsies, were killed during the pro-fascist regime of dictator Marshal Ion Antonescu. Romania has a few right-wing fringe groups such as Noua Dreapta, or New Right, which could be affected by the new law. Noua Dreapta’s followers are anti-gay, closely adhere to the Romanian Orthodox Church and support Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, the leader of the 1930s ultra-nationalist Iron Guard movement, which was active in Romania from 1927 to 1941.


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