THERE WAS A SERIOUS DROP in the incidence of terrorist attacks in the West Bank in 2016, IDF officials told Army Radio on Thursday.

This followed a hectic year of stabbings, car-rammings, and shooting attacks that plagued the West Bank, Jerusalem, and other major Israeli cities beginning in 2015.

The officials also noted that some three quarters (75%) of attacks in 2016 were carried out against soldiers and not civilian targets.

While 2016 may have seen fewer overall incidents, there were two major shootings in Tel Aviv last year. These attacks, which together killed six people, were apparently carried out by ISIS sympathizers.

The IDF announcement also came just a few weeks after a Palestinian driver in Jerusalem rammed his vehicle into a group of off-duty soldiers at Armon Hanatziv, killing four.

JUSTICE MINISTER Ayelet Shaked told Army Radio that the coalition was already planning for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demise amid graft investigations (#bibigate).

The coalition has begun preparations for a “scenario” in which charges are brought against Bibi, she said.

“It’s ridiculous to subject this country to elections every two years,”the justice minister said. “This coalition is very strong. I propose that it stays should such future scenarios occur.”

“I hope we don’t get there,” she added.

PRIME MINISTER BENJAMIN NETANYAHU said he believed global policy would shift concerning Iran under President Trump.

Speaking to Bibi earlier this week, Trump discussed Iran’s “aggressive” policies and the “dangerous” international nuclear deal struck with the Muslim nation last year, the prime minister said at a commemoration for International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

A recent poll shows that Iranians themselves think Trump will move to violate the Iran deal.

A FOREIGN TRIAL for the Israeli man who traveled to a Muslim country to battle ISIS has been delayed, Minister Ayoub Kara (L) said.

The trial has been postponed for two weeks to give the family of Ben Hassin, 21, time to deliver blood money (sulha) to the country where he is being held.

Ben Hassin, 21, apparently visited the country (with which Israel has no diplomatic ties) to visit his grandfather and decided to stay to fight ISIS. He is Jewish.

(My guess is that the “country” Ben Hassin visited is Iraq, specifically the northern Iraqi Kurdish stronghold. But who knows.)

KNESSET MEMBER Elazar Stern (Yesh Atid) lambasted the Chief Rabbinate for confronting the High Court over a petition demanding the government answer why no egalitarian space has been erected at the Western Wall, despite years of promises.

“It’s good we have the Supreme Court to prevent the Rabbinate from excluding many people from the State of Israel and from Judaism and from the Western Wall,” he spat.

“The chief rabbis weren’t selected by grand virtue of the Torah but by the legal authority of the State of Israel and through political processes, so they’re bound — not just by the law — but also by state institutions,” he said.

 

To illustrate how polarizing, protracted, and time-consuming the Western Wall issue is, Orthodox party Shas is now writing a bill that would bar pluralistic prayer at the holy site, just as the A-G is scrambling to answer the Supreme Court petition as to why the state hasn’t yet built this egalitarian space, which it promised to do several years ago.

The state has until next Wednesday to answer the Supreme Court.

YESH ATID CHAIRMAN Yair Lapid told Israel’s national public radio on Thursday that Bibi lied about Hamas’ network of underground tunnels into Israel. Essentially, he rejected Netanyahu’s claim that the cabinet had held discussions about the issue prior to the 2014 Gaza war.

This isn’t the first time Lapid has made the statement, either. As early as July last year, Lapid said Bibi lied (IE gave alternative facts) about the tunnels and that the cabinet hadn’t discussed them prior to the 2014 summer war.

Destroying the extensive tunnel network spanning the Gazan-Israeli region became a stated goal of the IDF’s during the 2014 military invasion of Gaza, though the operations were claimed to have started in response to ongoing rocket/missile/mortar attacks.

Egypt also engages in tunnel destroying activity, for those spanning its own territory.

Lapid’s repetition of his statement on Thursday came as the as the government continued to delay the release of the State Comptroller’s report on Operation Protective Edge, though most ministers seem to be okay with it.

DELI MEAT PRODUCER MA’ADANE HAGALIL has warned the public of a possible salmonella outbreak in one of its products.

The company ordered a recall for all 500-gram packages of chicken merguez (a North African sausage) with a use-by date of February 28.

(Who eats chicken merguez, anyway?)

 

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