Cartoon horror– Hamas released a chilling new animated Hebrew-language music video, the Israel Defense Forces posted on Facebook Wednesday. Example imagery includes a Jewish man with a chain leash around his neck accompanied by the lyrics, “If you’re not already killed, we can hold you captive.”
Other graphic content includes rockets raining down on Israel, gratuitous head-chopping, and positioning a Jewish man in sniper crosshairs before shooting.
Diversity– Four new judges were selected by a parliamentary panel on Wednesday to serve on Israel’s 15-member Supreme Court.
The most notable selection was George Kara of the Tel Aviv District Court. Kara is a Christian Arab-Israeli who presided over the 2009-10 trial that convicted former Israeli President Moshe Katzav of rape.
The other newly appointed judges are David Mintz of the Jerusalem District Court, Yosef Elron from the Tel Aviv District Court, and Yale Willner from the Haifa District Court. The three are seen as conservative or non-activist judges and were supported by Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of the Jewish Home party, who chaired the Knesset’s Judicial Selection Committee. The committee consisted of three sitting Supreme Court justices, two government ministers (including Shaked), two other members of the Knesset, and two members of the Israel Bar Association.
The new judges are slated to take the place of four members of the court who will reach the mandatory retirement age of 70 in the coming year, including Supreme Court President Miriam Naor, Deputy President Elyakim Rubenstein, and Justices Salim Joubran and Zvi Zilbertal.
Art of the deal– The business partners who own stake in the Leviathan natural gas field off the Israeli coast have agreed to invest $3.75 billion in its development, they announced on Thursday. The gas field is owned by Texas-based Noble Energy (which has a stake of 39.7%), Delek Drilling and Avner Oil Exploration (22.7% each), and Ratio Oil (15%). All of the latter three are Israeli firms. The $3.75 billion is in addition to $1 billion that has already been invested in the field’s development.
The Leviathan gas field lies approximately 60 miles west of Haifa and is believed to contain 18.9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. When in operation, it will be able to serve not only domestic Israeli demand, but will also be exported to Israel’s neighbors and the broader Mediterranean region. Drilling is scheduled to begin this year and the first extraction is expected in 2019.
“This is a day of good tidings for the economy and people of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “This move will provide gas to Israel and promote cooperation with countries in the region.”
Eli Groner, the director-general of the Prime Minister’s Office, said, “This is the biggest investment ever in Israel.” He added, “Commercial partnerships and alliances are what create diplomatic and political stability.”
Yuval Steinitz, Israel’s Energy Minister, hailed the news and said, “If we continue on a responsible and steadfast path, we will also succeed in discovering more gas fields, positioning Israel as an important player in the energy market alongside our neighbors in the Middle East and Europe.”